Posts for tag: smoking

By Smart Family Dental Care
May 04, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: smoking  

If you smoke or chew tobacco, you likely know the common risks associated with the habit: lung cancer, heart disease and diabetic smokingcomplications. Your dental health is no exception; it can be greatly impacted by the chemicals contained in tobacco products. At Smart Family Dental Care in Norcross, GA, Dr. Orson Baek wants his patients to understand the implications that smoking has on your smile and your overall health.

Teeth problems

Regardless if you smoke or not, it's probably no surprise that a longtime smoker's teeth become discolored due to the yellow-tinged tobacco. Chronic bad breath, called halitosis, often affects smokers as well. The combination of these things make your smoking habit hard to hide. Even regular cleanings with your Norcross dentist may not be able to erase these signs.

Gum disease

Smoking attacks the gum tissue surrounding the teeth. In fact, smokers are twice as likely to develop gum disease as those who do not smoke. This can lead to recession of the gums and infections that may not respond as well to treatment due to reduced oxygen in the blood, which is necessary for healing. Due to the the constant exposure to bacteria, untreated gum disease can also become systemic, which experts believe can contribute to heart disease and other life-threatening conditions.

Oral cancer

Like other cancers in the body, the risk of oral cancer increases with tobacco usage. For current and former smokers, oral cancer screenings from your Norcross dentist can be life-saving evaluations. Pre-cancerous lesions called leukoplakia can appear on the tongue or inside of the cheeks and may alert your dentist to the possibility of oral cancer developing; these chalky-white patches are usually painless but may feel rough or firmer than the tissue that surrounds them. Oral cancer symptoms often mimic that of a cold or toothache, which is why screenings are extremely important for early detection.

If you would like more information on smoking-related issues, please contact Smart Family Dental Care in Norcross, GA. Give us a call today to set up an appointment!

By Smart Family Dental Care
April 28, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: smoking  

While cigarette smoking has been linked with lung cancer and heart disease, it, can also contribute to dental disease. You can reduce these risks by doing one thing — quitting smoking.

But that’s easier said than done: forty-six percent of smokers try to quit every year, but only one in ten are successful long term. The difficulty is tied to tobacco’s active ingredient, nicotine, an addictive substance that triggers chemical and behavioral dependence. Nicotine “re-wires” the brain to feel pleasure when it encounters the chemical, and to feel bad when it’s deprived. Social, occupational or recreational activities can further reinforce the habit.

Many smokers try to quit through sheer willpower or “cold turkey.” Because of nicotine’s addictive properties, this rarely works — instead, you need a comprehensive strategy tailored to you.

You should begin first with trying to understand your individual smoking patterns: when do you smoke, how frequently, or during what activities? To help with this you can use a “wrap sheet”, a piece of paper you keep wrapped around your cigarette pack. Each time you take out a cigarette, you would record how you feel on the sheet. This also slows down the action of taking out a cigarette and lighting it, which can help you become less mechanical and more mindful of your habit.

You can also break your dependence by gradually introducing restrictions to your smoking: smoke only in certain locations or at certain times; substitute other stress-relieving activities like a walk or other physical exercise; or gradually reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke. You can do the latter by setting a goal, say to smoke 20% fewer cigarettes each successive week; this will force you to increasingly make choices about when you smoke.

Finally, don’t try to go it alone. You can benefit greatly from professionals, including your dentist, to help you kick the habit through Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NTR) with prescription medication, counseling or smoking cessation support groups.

Quitting smoking isn’t so much stopping a behavior as it is “unlearning” one and establishing new, healthier ones. The first step, though, is accepting you need a change, one that will benefit your whole life.

If you would like more information on quitting smoking, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Strategies to Stop Smoking.”