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Kicking the Habit: Dentists can help you quit smoking

Kicking the Habit: Dentists can help you quit smoking

Really, your dentist can help?

Many of us know someone who is or was a chronic smoker. Many of us also know people who have tried to quit smoking. Often times, it never occurred to people to ask their dentist for help. But when you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Your dentist, Dr. Jaleel, probably sees you more frequently than your doctor (most people visit their dentist 3 times a year), she knows everything there is to know about your oral health (including whether or not you smoke) and she can prescribe the same smoking cessation medications a doctor can. Dr. Jaleel, your Ottawa dentist is in an ideal position to speak with patients who smoke and inform them of the effects on their health. She has the expertise and training to help patients understand how smoking affects not only their oral health, but also their overall health, and to help them quit. She also has the skills to detect early signs of oral cancer in patients during routine dental examinations.

The Canadian Cancer Society estimates that smoking is responsible for 30 percent of all cancer deaths in Canada. Tobacco is number one on the list of risk factors for oral cancer for people over the age of 50. This too-often fatal condition has a higher mortality rate than both breast cancer and prostate cancer. Tobacco use is also associated with heart disease and/or stroke, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, periodontal disease and tooth decay. Smoking wreaks havoc on more than your health; it also affects your appearance. Cigarette smoking can accelerate the aging process, causing wrinkles and skin damage, stains your pearly whites and can irritate gum and mouth tissue, causing unsightly and uncomfortable mouth sores or lesions. Not a pretty picture. Research shows that the majority of adult smokers (62 percent) intend to quit within the next six months, but tobacco use is one of the most difficult addictions to break. That’s where your dentist can help — by advising you about different ways to stop smoking and the resources available. To kick-start your efforts, Dr. Jaleel has put together a seven-step action plan adapted from the Canadian Dental Association and the Lung Association.

Start the conversation

The first step is to come in so we can start you on the step to quitting. Book an appointment so you can talk to Dr. Jaleel about developing a strategy to quit. There are lots of options, and we can help you choose the one that will work best for you. For example:

  • Nicotine replacement therapy. A nicotine patch or inhaler, or nicotine gum or lozenges will replace some of the nicotine you usually get from cigarettes and make nicotine withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, difficulty concentrating and hunger, easier to manage.
  • Prescription medicines, such as bupropion (Zyban and Wellbutrin SR), an antidepressant which makes smoking less enjoyable, or varenicline tartrate (Champix), which works at the level of your brain receptors, where the nicotine attaches.
  • Individual counselling in person or by phone, or quit smoking support groups.

Oral cancer screening

Ask Dr. Jaleel to screen you for early signs of oral cancer or periodontal disease. An oral cancer exam during a routine exam is fast, easy and painless — and it could save your life.

Gradually change your routines

Anticipate tobacco triggers (situations or places where you’re tempted to smoke) and prepare strategies on how to avoid them.

Keep track of the money you save from quitting

Use some of the money you’ve saved by not buying cigarettes (more than $3,000 a year for a pack-a-day habit!) to reward yourself. Go out for dinner and a play, or treat yourself to a new spring outfit.

plate-of-healthy-fruits

Keep your hands busy

Chew sugarless gum and drink water when cravings hit. And make sure you stock up on healthy snacks, such as carrots, fresh fruit, popcorn, nuts and sunflower seeds.

Start working out

Build exercise time into your weekly routine to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms and to help with weight control.

Keep busy

Take a walk, call a friend, head to the playground with your kids or book a tennis game with a buddy. Nicotine cravings only last about three to five minutes, and they become fewer and farther apart the longer you stay tobacco free.

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A New Year, A New You with Teeth Whitening Brought to you by Dr. Jaleel

It’s a New Year and one of your resolutions likely involves bettering yourself. Why not start the year off right with a dazzling smile? If you’ve been ashamed over the shade of your teeth and have been finding yourself hiding your smile, we wouldn’t want you to give off the wrong impression about yourself. Having your teeth as white as they can be will rejuvenate your smile, bring a new sense of self-confidence, and will give you more reasons to smile in the first place!

Boost your confidence with whiter teeth.

Boost your confidence with whiter teeth.

The colours of our teeth are inherently within a range of yellowish-to greyish shades. Although our teeth fall within this natural range, it is the whitest of smiles that we associate with health, vitality, happiness and beauty. Luckily, turning this perception into reality is well within our reach with the latest advancements in bleaching and whitening technologies. For this reason, teeth whitening can be an effective and simple makeover for your face at any age!

Before and After Teeth Whitening Treatments.

Before and After Teeth Whitening Treatments.

Teeth naturally darken with age. Just as our hair turns white, so do our teeth begin to yellow. (Too bad the opposite couldn’t be true!) The accumulation of stains from food, drink and smoking accelerates the darkening process that comes with age. Teeth may also be darkened by certain medications, root canals or trauma to the teeth. But there is no need to kick the coffee habit just yet!

A peroxide-based concentration penetrates tooth enamel, removing stains while lights in the form of lasers catalyze the reaction to speed up the process. Although the agents used by a professional dentist in Ottawa are stronger than at-home treatments, the precision and care taken during application increases effectiveness and reduces any possible irritation.

Teeth Whitening Process

Some teeth and gum sensitivity may be a possible but brief side effect. However, friendly and accommodating, just let Ottawa dentist Dr. Jaleel aware of any personal sensitivities to make the process as comfortable for you as possible. Teeth whitening treatments are worth making the visit to your Ottawa dentist to ensure the most efficient and effective treatment to serve your personal needs. Based on the current colour of your teeth, sensitivity and medical history, cosmetic dentists will tailor your treatments. Accordingly, you can begin seeing results as quickly and comfortably as possible for you personally.

Don’t wave your white flag of surrender. Instead flash a new set of pearly whites! Stop by Dr. Jaleel, your local dentist in Ottawa, to see if you can turn your discoloration from coffee into a declaration of confidence!

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