Years of research have shown us how bad smoking is for our health. It’s not just your family that wants you to quit. Your dentist wants you to quit, too. Here’s why:
1. Your risk for oral cancer will decrease. Tobacco use is the number-one risk factor for oral cancer in people over age 50, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation. This includes all types of tobacco — cigarettes, pipes, cigars or smokeless tobacco. Together, alcohol and tobacco significantly increase our risk of developing cancer. Tobacco smoking “can cause cancer almost anywhere in your body and is linked to 90 percent of all lung cancers,” according to the U.S Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention.
The Oral Cancer Foundation reports that more than 42,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year, resulting in more than 8,000 deaths.
2. You will be less likely to have gum disease. Gum disease starts with the spread of bacteria in your mouth. You can have one of two types of gum disease — gingivitis or periodontitis. Gingivitis is the less severe form of gum disease and involves only the gums. Periodontitis is a more serious disease and attacks the tissue and gum below the teeth. Healthy gums are pink and firm. Unhealthy gums bleed easily, are swollen and may result in pockets that allow bacteria to form between your teeth and gums.
3. Your breath will invite kisses. Who wants to lock lips with a smoker? Stop smoking, and you’ll trade your ashtray mouth for one that’s sweet — like you!