After the year we have all been through with coronavirus, people are making their health a priority more than ever before. In the UK, there were 77,800 deaths attributable to smoking (2017) and 14.4% of adults were classified as smokers (2018). Stoptober 2020 is designed to reduce these numbers, to help more people quit smoking to improve their oral health, overall health and lifestyle.
If you want to make 2020 the year you take control, see our advice for stopping smoking below.
Effects of Smoking on Your Oral Health
It is well known that smoking is bad for your health and can be responsible for various medical problems and a contributor to certain diseases. However, not as many people are aware of the effect smoking has on oral health, including:
- Staining on your teeth
- Unpleasant breath
- Increased risk of oral cancer
- Increased risk of gum disease
- Loss of taste and smell
- Increased risk of tooth loss
- Reduced blood supply to the mouth
- Increased tartar and plaque buildup on the teeth
- Longer healing time after oral surgery
With enough motivation, you can quit smoking. Once you do, you can enjoy a series of benefits to your health and general lifestyle. This includes fresher smelling breath, easier breathing, reduced risk of certain diseases and improvements in sense of taste and smell. In addition to health benefits, you can also save money by quitting the habit and reduce the risk for those around you with the absence of second hand smoke.
Tips for Quitting Smoking
Adapt Your Routine
Many people have fallen into a routine of having a cigarette during certain times of the day, such as when they first wake up, during their lunch break at work or after their evening dinner. Making small changes to your routine can help you to forget about your usual routine, such as enjoying a hot drink instead of a cigarette in the morning or occupying yourself with other activities, such as chores straight after eating to create a new routine for yourself.
Find Suitable Alternatives
Nicotine Replacement Therapy is available, which provides you with a small amount of nicotine, without the other poisonous chemicals you would usually find in tobacco smoke. This can help to ease cravings and withdrawal symptoms while you are trying to quit. This can be found in the form of chewing gum, patches, inhalators, sprays, lozenges, tablets or oral strips.
In addition, you can find ways to keep your mouth and hands occupied during times you are most likely to reach for a cigarette. Drinking from a straw or occupying yourself on the dance floor during nights out can help.
Talk to Others
Letting people know about your goal to quit smoking can offer you essential support. In addition to emotional support, smoker friends can avoid smoking in front of you to reduce temptation. Friends and family can also help to keep you on track, by keeping you preoccupied and reminding you of the reasons you want to quit if you feel you are about to give in.
Support is also available from your local stop smoking service or the NHS Smokefree helpline on 0300 123 1044.
To receive orthodontic treatment, you need to have strong and healthy teeth and gums. Therefore, if you have any concerns with your oral health, it is important to visit your dentist or orthodontist first for help and advice.