If you are a smoker, you know that it’s been a long winter of braving the cold outside to have a smoke. Now that the weather is warmer, you might be thinking that the worst is over. Why quit now?
Tobacco is Ontario’s leading cause of premature death states the Ontario College of Dental Hygienists. This is quite startling given that it’s casualties are five times that of death by traffic accidents, suicides and AIDS combined.
As the number one most preventable cause of illness and death in Ontario also, smoking speaks volumes to health behaviour and inclinations towards healthy practices. (Hopefully those with this destructive habit will still remember to floss! Correlations with smoking go further, beyond just health behaviours, such as one study which claims smokers earn less money on average than smokers (while interestingly, former smokers are the highest earners!). This eludes to some interesting personality associations between smokers, non-smokers and former smokers. This may be motivation enough to kick the habit, but unfortunately, since the nicotine in cigarettes and other forms of tobacco are addictive, quitting may be easier said than done.
As this blog has stated before – and any dentist will tell you – your oral health is an excellent indication of your overall health (see in regards to Temporomandibular Disorder and the benefits of aligned teeth. While your eyes may be the windows to your soul, your mouth is the window to your well-being.
Does your dentist know you smoke? Absolutely. The tell-tale signs will be apparent to your dentist in Ottawa. Fortunately, the yellowing tobacco has on one’s teeth can be corrected through teeth whitening services performed by your very own Ottawa dentist. Unfortunately though, the unpleasing aesthetics this habit gives you is the least of your problems.
Tobacco products reduce your sense of taste and smell, result in bad breath (halitosis), increase your sensitivity to hot and cold foods, increase your heart rate, cause mouth sores, cause an increase in tartar build-up – therefore leading to more cavities, weaken your jaw bone density, and more seriously increase your risk of developing: chronic bronchitis, emphysema, oral cancer, lung cancer, heart disease and/or stroke, premature aging, and periodontal disease. As a habit consumed orally, the extent of its effect are all-encompassing throughout your body.
Luckily, as much damage as smoking causes, there is still hope. Our bodies are incredibly efficient at healing ourselves, regardless if the damage was self-inflicted. After 15 years, a former smoker’s risk of death is similar to that of a person who has never smoked before.
Since your Ottawa dentist is at the forefront of this issue, and witness its’ effects firsthand, they are in an ideal position to offer support and encouragement. Dentists are able to explain to your personally the immediate benefits of quitting, and prescribe quit-smoking medications.
The statistics and the resources are on your side. Health Canada states that there are now more former smokers (26%) than current smokers (25%) in Canada. Rest assured, quitting is in your hands – not your mouth!