The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly thrown up some interesting theories about its causes and potential cures. Whilst some ideas appear to be based in the realms of fantasy, when it comes to smoking, news stories have suggested smokers are at significantly greater risk from the disease. That’s partly because smokers touch their face and mouth more, increasing their infection risk. But more importantly, smoking damages the lungs, making smokers more susceptible to severe illness from all types of respiratory disease, including COVID-19.
Smoking and oral health
The fact is, that smoking remains one of the most damaging habits to both physical and oral health, with the well-known side-effects of stained, discoloured teeth, reduced taste, dry mouth and bad breath. Smoking is also known to lower the immune system, putting smokers at greater risk of gum disease resulting in tooth loss, as well as contributing to the increased risk of mouth cancer.
Mouth cancer can affect the lips, gums, cheeks, tongue and throat and is currently one of the few cancers which is seeing an increase in cases year on year. According to the Oral Health Foundation over 7,800 people are diagnosed with oral cancer each year in the UK, and this is set to rise by a third in the next ten years.
If you are a smoker, it’s essential that you are seen by your dentist regularly who can screen for oral cancer and ensure that any problems can be dealt with early. Hygiene appointments are also strongly advised, these include professional cleaning and (currently) hand scaling, to help maintain healthy teeth and gums and take remedial action to reduce the oral health issues related to smoking.
Help is at hand
Sadly, around 78,000 people in the UK die from smoking every year, with many more living with debilitating smoking-related illnessesi. Giving up smoking is not easy at the best of times, but at a time of increased health concerns, now might just be the right time to stop.
This month the Stoptober campaign is back, helping smokers on the road to going smoke-free by encouraging them to take the 28-day stop smoking challenge. Did you know that if you can manage 28 days smoke-free – you’re five times more likely to quit for good?
At Ringley Park Dental Practice, Reigate, our dental team is on hand to help any of our patients to give up smoking, not just in October, but all year round. We strive to do whatever we can to support the cause for quitting a habit that has so many negative effects on oral and general health.
If you want to give up smoking, but need a helping hand, why not give us a call today on 01737 240123 to arrange an appointment with your dentist or hygienist and get friendly and helpful advice on how to finally quit smoking for good.
If you would like further advice on looking after your oral health or that of someone you’re caring for give us a call today on 01737 240123. We will be happy to help.