July 11, 2018

Quit Smoking to Improve Your Dental and Overall Health

Since tobacco use is the leading cause of oral cancer, it’s definitely worth it to rise to the challenge and quit smoking! And the benefits don’t stop there – if you’re a smoker, quitting is the single biggest positive impact you can have on your overall health.

How smoking affects your dental health
Smoking has many negative effects on your oral health, such as:

  • increased risk of oral cancer
  • increased risk of gum disease
  • increased tartar and plaque build-up
  • deep, permanent stains on teeth
  • bad breath

If you are a smoker, it’s incredibly important to make time for frequent oral health exams. Early diagnosis of oral cancer is key, and our dentists will provide visual oral cancer screenings at every check-up.  

How to quit – have a plan
It’s time to quit! Set yourself up for success by making a detailed plan for quitting, include a diet and fitness plan. Talk to your doctor and your dentist, and try not to get discouraged by relapses. It’s always worth it to keep trying, and eventually it will stick! Make an appointment to talk to us about smoking cessation options.

The real story about quitting and weight gain
While fear of weight gain is often cited as a barrier to quitting, in reality the average smoker only gains about 5 – 10 pounds after quitting – but even that is not the end of the story! As your overall health improves, your energy levels will increase, you will begin to feel better, and in turn you will be more interested in and able to take part in physical activity. Even a moderate increase in physical activity can easily help to combat those 5 – 10 pounds.

Reducing your calorie intake by just 200 calories per day can also balance out the effects of quitting. Talk to your dentist and your doctor before starting any diet, and read more about Diet and Dental Health and How Dieting and Food Restrictions Impact Dental Health.

It is important to recognize that the small amount of potential weight gain that may come with quitting is far better for your health than continuing to smoke. In fast, it is estimated that you would have to gain about 125 pounds to put your health at a comparable risk to that of smoking.