Smoking: You know it is bad for your health, but what about your teeth?
Contributed by the Children’s Dental Health Project
When dentists and other health care professionals talk to patients about how to protect their teeth and gums from dental disease, they usually stress what people should do. But it is worth reminding ourselves what not to do.
We all know the kind of damage that smoking does to lungs, but many Americans may not be aware of the impact this habit can have on oral health.
Gum (periodontal) disease is an infection of the tissue and bones that support the teeth. In severe cases, the bone and tissue that hold teeth in place can break down, leading people to lose many or all of their teeth. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) calls smoking “one of the most significant risk factors” for gum disease in the United States.
This month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released new TV ads that raise awareness about smoking’s link to gum disease. One of these ads features Brett, a longtime smoker who tells his story. He lost most of his teeth because of gum disease.
If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. The CDC has a toll-free number that can connect smokers with free help to improve their odds of quitting smoking. If you know someone who smokes, encourage them to call 1-800-QUIT-NOW. Learn more by visiting www.cdc.gov/tips.