Each year on the third Thursday of November, the United States celebrates The Great American Smokeout. This celebration is meant to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking, invite smokers to put down their cigarettes, and create a plan of action to quit this dangerous habit. Keep reading to discover how smoking is related to your dental health and the benefits of quitting:
Smoking & Your Dental Health
Some may argue that your mouth is the first victim of smoking. The cigarette lays between your lips and the tobacco fills your mouth when you take a puff. That’s why it’s no surprise that there are many dental health problems related to smoking. Below is a list of just a few issues you may encounter:
- Bad breath
- Bone loss within the jaw
- Dental implant procedure difficulty
- Gum disease (leading cause of tooth loss)
- Plaque and tartar on the teeth
- Salivary gland inflammation
- Tooth discoloration
Benefits of Smoking Cessation
Did you know? The US Surgeon General states that “Smoking cessation [stopping smoking] represents the single most important step that smokers can take to enhance the length and quality of their lives.”
This is the most important step because smoking affects more than just your oral health. It affects every aspect of your health. Upon quitting, you will notice immediate results such as food tastes better, your teeth and fingernails return to their normal color, and your sense of smell returns to normal.
According to the US Surgeon General Report, you will also experience these benefits upon quitting for a certain amount of time:
- 3 months after quitting – The function of your lungs increase exponentially.
- 1 year after quitting – The excess risk of coronary heart disease is cut in half.
- 5 years after quitting – Your risk of a stroke falls to that of a non-smoker.
- 10 years after quitting – Your risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half.