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For some years we’ve talked about how important Stoptober is for the nation’s oral health. We know that smoking is detrimental to our overall wellbeing, but as dentists, it’s important to shout about the link between smoking and our mouth.

Smoking is one of the main causes of mouth cancer, not to mention contributing to issues like gum disease and tooth loss, tooth discolouration and plaque build-up. During October, we’ve been supporting the 11th annual Stoptober campaign, and these are our key takeout messages to help empower you to quit and give you a happy, healthy smile for the rest of your life.

The confidence to quit
We know that quitting smoking can be difficult, but studies show that people are at least 5 times more likely to stop smoking for good if they stay smoke-free for 28 days. Often, however, the thing that gets in the way of people quitting is self-confidence.

While it’s so important to note that it is a big commitment to making a life-long change, it will benefit your health and the right support is out there to help you. That includes your friends and family, but also professional help too, and resources from Stoptober, including an easy-to-use NHS Quit Smoking app.

This Stoptober we were particularly interested to hear Strictly Come Dancing’s James Jordan talk about his experience of quitting. It’s important to feel inspired to stop smoking and to hear from those who have happily succeeded.

Why quit?
There are many good reasons to stop smoking, from improving your health to protecting your future. As James spoke about his reasons for quitting, the themes he highlighted are powerfully universal. These include getting the inspiration to stop because his dad did and becoming a father himself.

From an oral health perspective, when you smoke bacterial plaque increases, leading to gum disease, and the tobacco and tar stains teeth yellow, then brown. Smoking also causes a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, impairing the ability of gums to heal. All this can lead to tooth loss. The other major health risk of smoking is cancer, and that includes mouth cancer. As we lead up to Mouth Cancer Action Month in November, we must understand what risks we take when smoking, and how beneficial quitting can be.

Tips to quit
Having the right tools and support is key to quitting, and thankfully there are plenty of these things out there. Back on the NHS Stoptober website, you can find handy tips to quit, along with useful information and the option to create a personal quit plan.
Some of the top points from the NHS to get you started include:

  • Finding and writing down your reasons for quitting.
  • Being open with people about the fact that you’re quitting.
  • Using tools you know will help you.
  • Creating a plan.
  • Managing your cravings.
  • Tapping into all the support available to you.

Ensuring your oral health is in good order is essential to managing your overall wellbeing and detecting any problems early. To arrange your routine dental check-up contact us now.