Healthy Smiles by Rita Tempel, DDS – This column was originally published in the Gettysburg Times, November 15, 2018
Would you like to quit smoking? That’s the question the American Dental Association says every dentist should be asking their patients today. That’s because some of the first signs of damage from tobacco use, in any form, are seen in the mouth.
This month, in conjunction with the Great American Smokeout, I’d like to focus on information and tips from the American Cancer Society and the American Dental Association to help you or a loved one consider quitting the habit.
Smoking is the single most preventable cause of death and illness in the world. Every year, smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths—that’s about one in every five deaths. And more than 16 million Americans are battling a smoking-related disease.
There is some good news: The cigarette smoking rate has dropped significantly, from 42% in 1965 to less than 15.5% in 2016. However, some groups of Americans suffer disproportionately from smoking-related cancer and other diseases, including those who have less education, those who live below the poverty level and those who suffer from serious psychological distress.
Those who quit smoking improve their health immediately. Kicking the habit is hard for many, but there is help available which can double or triple your chance of successfully quitting.
Here are some of the immediate benefits of quitting smoking:
- If you quit before the age of 40, you reduce the risk of dying from smoking-related disease by about 90%.
- You will save a good deal of money immediately, by not purchasing tobacco products.
- Food will taste better!
- Everyday activities will feel easier and you won’t be out of breath nearly as much.
- In terms of your dental health, your teeth will stop yellowing. Additionally, your chance of gum disease and tooth loss decrease.
As with most health issues, it often takes a team of health professionals working together to help you overcome the addiction to nicotine associated with smoking. Please consider talking to your dentist and/or family doctor about cessation programs, counseling and other helpful resources.
The first and most important question to consider is: Would you like to quit? When you are ready to answer “yes,” help is here for you.
Dr. Rita Tempel is the owner and founder of Gettysburg Smiles, a cosmetic and family dental practice located at 2018 York Road (Route 30 East), Gettysburg. She is an Accreditation Candidate of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. For more information, see GettysburgSmiles.com, follow Gettysburg Smiles on Facebook, or call 717-339-0033.