I was once informed that if I wait to change until I am ready, I’ll be waiting the rest of my life. Change is hard and change can be scary, but when you are changing to improve your life or to make yourself healthy, change is always good.
The American Cancer Society recognized the need for change. In 1977, the ACS declared the third Thursday in November the Great American Smoke Out. Hoping to instill change, the Great American Smoke Out is a day is to encourage tobacco smokers to drastically cut back or even quit smoking. Everyone is invited to participate, including those who are only able to resist for the day.
This year the Great American Smoke Out will be on November 15.
It is no secret that smoking has negative effects on your whole body. What is somewhat a secret are the effects it has on your mouth. Smoking can cause bad breath, tooth stains, tooth decay, gum disease and even tooth loss.
The ingredients found in cigarettes contribute to tooth stains as well as overall tooth discoloration. While you can treat these problems with teeth whitening sessions or veneers the cost can add up quickly. Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is another negative side effect of smoking. Smoking causes dry mouth which leads to halitosis. Tar and nicotine settle in your oral cavity causing a type of halitosis known as “smoker’s breath.” And these are only the cosmetic side effects.
While the cosmetic nuances of smoking may be hard to handle, they are nothing compared to the health problems you will encounter. Smoking causes gum disease by interfering with the function of gum tissue cells. Gums become damaged and separate from the bone, leaving them open to infection.
Smokers are several times more likely to get severe gum disease than non-smokers, increasing their need for ongoing treatment. Severe periodontal disease will eventually lead to tooth loss.
If missing teeth won’t encourage you to quit, think about the increased risk of oral, throat and lung cancer caused by smoking. Cancer moves smoking in to a life or death situation that is hundreds of times more frightening than change.
So before you pick up a cigarette think about the adverse effects it has on your oral health. Are you really willing to wait until you’re “ready” to make a change?
If you have advice for smokers, leave your words of wisdom in the comments. Better yet, forward this to a smoker you know.
Photo Credit: Experience Project