Still Smoking? You’ll have a Healthier, Whiter Smile If You Quit (And You May Live Longer)

Published:September 4th, 2013

Image courtesy of mi-sioSmoking can be a hard habit to kick, and it is estimated that two out of three smokers would prefer to quit. Recent figures have highlighted the health issues facing smokers, as the number of smoking related hospital admissions has increased in spite of the falling numbers of smokers. There were more than 1.6 million people admitted to hospital due to smoking related illnesses, and cancer accounted for more than one in 10 of this figure.

Smoking is associated with a number of different health issues, the very least of which is bad breath and having stained teeth. It also increases the risk of gum disease, as smokers are much more likely to have advanced gum disease or periodontal disease, a condition that can lead to tooth loss. In addition smokers are much more at risk of developing mouth cancer, and there are 18 people diagnosed with this disease each day in the UK. Other risk factors for mouth cancer include the human papilloma virus, having a poor diet or drinking alcohol to excess.

Mouth Cancer
The rate of mouth cancer has increased by almost 50% over the past 10 years, and the recent increase in hospital admissions related to smoking shows this figure looks set to continue on its upward trend.  Survival rates are closely linked to early detection, and this is one of the reasons why you’re urged to visit your dentist at regular intervals. Your dentist will examine your tongue, the inside of your cheeks and lips, and the roof of your mouth and the bottom of your mouth for any signs of this disease.

It’s a very quick check, but it has the potential to save your life. Early warning signs that something may be wrong include having ulcers that fail to heal within a couple of weeks or so, or noticing the inside of your mouth has developed a white or red patches, or that certain areas appear to be thicker or rougher than before. If you’re in any doubt, then you should always contact your dentist for advice.

Benefits of Quitting Smoking – Whiter Teeth and Fresher Breath
The benefits of quitting smoking are easy to see, as your breath will be fresher, your health and your oral health will gradually improve, and you’ll have more money in your pocket. This means you’ll be able to afford to restore your smile to its former glory, starting with teeth whitening. Your first step should be to visit your dentist for a full checkup, and to book a professional cleaning with either your dentist or hygienist. This will remove hardened tartar from your teeth, while having them polished will help remove some of the stains left by the nicotine. Once you’ve received a clean bill of health from your dentist then you can safely whiten your teeth through using an easy-to-use home teeth whitening kit.

If you used home whitening kits in the past while still smoking, then you’ll probably find the results now last a lot longer, and that your teeth don’t darken so quickly. If you have some teeth that don’t respond to home whitening, such as those which are internally stained, or which have been affect by antibiotic use, your dentist can advise you on the best way to whiten them through having veneers, crowns, or internal bleaching in their surgery.

Finding it hard to quit? The NHS has quite a good website with lots of advice and information.

About the author

Alison, is a UK born and educated dental professional with over 25 years experience.

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