National No Smoking Day

The 11th March is National No Smoking Day, a day when smokers are encouraged to break their habit. It is also a day to raise awareness of the side effects of smoking. On average, 14.7% of the UK adult population smoked cigarettes in 2018. While this may not seem like a large percentage, it equates to around 7.2 million people. Smoking can increase your risk of developing over 50 life-threatening illnesses, including a range of oral health problems that are usually not discussed until symptoms start to appear. From stained teeth to gum disease, or even potentially developing something more serious and life-changing such as mouth cancer. Smoking greatly increases your chances of developing some type of oral disease.

Here at Revitalise Dental Centre, we always warn our patients about the health problems that could arise due to smoking, and the lasting impact they could have. But it is not too late to stop and improve your oral health.

Oral Health and Oral Cancer

Looking after your oral health is just as important as looking after your general health. Brushing and flossing twice a day as well as regular check-ups with your general dentist, are key to keeping your oral health in great condition. If you smoke and let your oral health deteriorate, it can lead to further health problems later on in life such as heart disease, diabetes, or mouth cancer. National No Smoking Day is used to raise awareness of different effects that smoking has on your life. Smoking greatly increases your chances of developing mouth cancer, with 70-90% of people who develop the disease being smokers.

Symptoms to look out for:

  • Mouth ulcers that are painful for several weeks and don’t heal
  • Lumps in the mouth which can’t be explained and don’t go away
  • Lumps in the neck which can’t be explained and don’t go away
  • Unexplainable bleeding from the mouth
  • Difficulty or pain when swallowing
  • Red or white patches on the lining of the mouth or tongue. In most cases these are not cancerous, however they can be early symptoms and should be investigated

If you have any of the symptoms make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. Spotting the symptoms early increases your treatment options.

Gum Disease

Smoking can also greatly increase the chances of developing gum disease. This is caused by the build-up of tartar, which is more common in smokers than non-smokers. Gum disease doesn’t always cause any pain or discomfort, so can go untreated for long periods of time. If left untreated, the gums could become infected and you could develop Periodontitis, which can result in permanent tooth loss.

Symptoms to look out for:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Tooth loss
  • Swollen gums
  • Receding gums

By stopping smoking and taking part in National No Smoking Day, you are reducing your risk of developing gum disease, and making it easier to treat if you do develop the disease, as tobacco greatly reduces the blood flow in the gums.

Is It Too Late To Quit Smoking?

No, It is never too late to stop smoking. No matter how long you have been a smoker for, whenever you stop you will be able to improve your oral health. From as little as eight hours after your last cigarette, your oxygen levels will start returning to normal, reducing your carbon monoxide levels by half. After two days of not smoking, the nerve endings in your mouth will start to grow, meaning that your sense of taste will begin to improve.

The longer you go without smoking, the healthier your gums will become as they start to heal and repair themselves. As well as health issues, smoking also causes cosmetic issues, altering the look of the teeth. Bad breath and staining are common side effects that are easily reversible when you stop smoking. Here at Revitalise Dental Centre, we offer a range of cosmetic dentistry treatments that can help you get a whiter smile.

Whilst stopping smoking does not completely remove your chances of developing cancer, it does drastically decrease them. It is reported that 3-5 years after you stop smoking, your chances of developing oral cancer are 50% less likely than if you do smoke.

Quitting smoking is not an easy task. By taking part in National No Smoking Day you are taking your first step towards stopping for good and helping to improve your oral health.

Find Out More

The team at Revitalise are here to support you in your journey to improving your oral health. If you are worried about the effects that smoking has had on your oral health, book in for a consultation and discover how the team at Revitalise Dental Centre can help.

About the author

Author

Martin Docking is the Founder of Revitalise Dental Centre. Widely recognised as a leading Clinical Dental Technician Martin has a passion for embracing new skills, techniques and materials to deliver the best products, service and patient care.

Connect with Martin Docking on LinkedIn.

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