The Great American Smokeout
Cigarette smoking kills over 500,000 Americans each year including deaths due to second-hand smoke. Illness due to smoking results in hundreds of billions of dollars in medical costs. (cdc.gov)
Every third Thursday each November, the American Cancer Society asks smokers to quit, even if it's for just one day (cancer.org). After 20 minutes of not smoking, heart rate and blood pressure decrease; after 12 hours, carbon monoxide levels in the blood
drop. The longer a person stays smoke free the more health benefits are gained.
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Photo: Y. Mikalopas
In addition to being devastating to the entire body, smoking affects the mouth and teeth in very significant ways. Smokers may find that their gums don't bleed, ordinarily a sign of health. However, smokers actually have a higher incidence of both periodontal disease and tooth loss than non-smokers. The gums aren't bleeding because the blood vessels are constricted and oxygen is needed more urgently by the lungs and heart.
Smoking also increases risk for the following conditions in the mouth:
- oral cancer
- esophageal cancer
- periodontal/gum disease
- tooth loss
- black hairy tongue (if you've never seen it, Google it)
- dry mouth
- bad breath
Diseases caused by smoking and second hand smoke are preventable. Quitting, if only for one day, is the first step to better health.
sources: Ann Periodontol. 1998 Jul;3(1):88-101., cdc.gov, ada.org, cancer.org. This blog is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. If you need medical or dental treatment, seek help from your doctor or dentist. If you smoke, QUIT!