As a smoker you are 6 times more likely get oral cancer. Oral cancer is a debilitating condition that requires radical surgery and has poor survival rates. Although it is relatively uncommon, it is on the increase in the UK.
As a smoker you are around 4 times more likely to have Periodontal (Gum) Disease, the disease that destroys the bone support from around teeth and is the primary cause of tooth loss in patients over the age of 25. If you have gum disease, it is treatable although research tells us the results or our treatments are less than that for a non-smoker. The good news is that smokers who quit can respond well to treatment. Smoking has several effects, one of which is to reduce the blood flow to the gums. This often masks the early warning signs of gum disease like bleeding when you brush your teeth.
Halitosis (bad breath) is commonly associated with smoking and although mouthwashes and regular tooth brushing can help, they only have short term effects and smoking cessation is more effective.
If you are considering quitting smoking, we would encourage you to discuss this with your medical practice as research shows that people who try to quit as part of a managed program are 4 times more likely to quit than those who try and do it alone.
Other options for helping you quit are:
Nicotine replacement therapy- chewing gums, patches, gels, etc
Champix- this is a nicotine receptor blocking tablet that is available on prescription from your doctor on the NHS. It has very good success rates and minimal side effects
Allen Carr Foundation – see www.allencarr.com