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How to Quit Smoking and Protect Your Oral Health

Not only can smoking cigarettes lead to serious health issues, it can also give you yellow teeth and bad breath. E-Cigarettes may not discolor your teeth, but they carry the same risks associated with regular cigarettes. The sooner you quit, the sooner you can start reversing the damage already done to your oral and overall health. You can do it. Here are some ways to help to quit smoking so you can enjoy the benefits of a healthier lilfestyle.

How Does Smoking Affect Your Oral Health?

Giving up smoking isn't easy, but there are some serious oral health benefits to quitting—and your mouth will thank you for it! The most significant benefit is a lower risk of developing oral cancer. Tobacco products expose your mouth to dangerous carcinogenic chemicals, leading to oral cancer and other infections.

Additional oral health benefits of quitting smoking include:

  • Improved gum health
  • Reduced risk of periodontal disease
  • Increased immune response to harmful bacteria in the mouth
  • Strengthened sense of taste and smell
  • Normal saliva production

Have a Plan to Help You Quit Smoking

Quitting smoking is hard, but it’s doable. Studies show that your brain dopamine — connected to reward and addiction — can return to normal levels about three months after you stop. Your brain will begin to get used to not smoking, putting you on the path to breaking the cycle of addiction. Here are a few tips to help you quit for good:

  1. Make a fresh start. Make an appointment with your dental professional and have your teeth professionally cleaned. Seeing and feeling your shiny clean teeth will make you want to keep them that way.
  2. Avoid smoking triggers. Stay away from people, places, and things that tempt you to smoke. These triggers include stress, alcohol, coffee, and hanging out with people who smoke. Throw out cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vaporizers, lighters, and ashtrays, and go to places where smoking isn’t allowed.
  3. Incorporate healthy oral substitutes. Having nutritious snacks around — like carrots, celery, and sunflower seeds — can help curb your urge to smoke. Not hungry? Have some sugar-free chewing gum. Staying hydrated can all help, too.
  4. Freshen the air. Clean up your car and home to remove the smell of cigarettes. You don’t need a reminder of old habits; plus, the fresh scent can encourage you to keep going.
  5. Get a pep talk if you need it. Talk to your dental professional. Though the first few weeks are the hardest and you may be very tempted to smoke, cravings will soon be few and far between. When in doubt, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
  6. Feel like smoking? Brush your teeth instead. You won’t be smoking, and you’ll be making your breath fresh and removing smoking stains.
  7. Reward your accomplishments. Quitting is hard. Every hour or day one goes without a cigarette is an achievement. Treat yourself with all the money you save on cigarettes.

Whether you smoke tobacco or e-cigarettes, you’re putting your oral health at risk. Discolored teeth, bad breath, gum disease, and even oral cancer all become possibilities. Make a plan to quit smoking today. You can start by contacting your dental professional to schedule an oral exam and professional cleaning appointment.

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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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