With the latest lockdown hopefully coming to an end, is now a good time to quit smoking for good?
Although, as the experts say, we are not out of the woods yet, there is no doubt that things are looking brighter than they have been for some time.
The easing of lockdown may be gradual, and perhaps for some a little too slow, but with the success of the vaccine rollout and the warmer weather ahead, it is hoped that this might be the final lockdown and things might start to gradually return to some sort of normality.
Some of our Woking patients may have been thinking of stopping smoking for some time but decided that the stresses and strains of lockdown meant that it wasn’t the right time for them. As things start to ease and we gradually relax a little more, now might be a good time to reassess this and make plans to quit.
Why quit at all?
There are so many good reasons to stop smoking and so few to continue. The only arguments for continuing really are that a) you like them and b) you acknowledge you are addicted. On the first point, we suspect that after you have stopped, you will wonder why you ever smoked as your taste buds return and also, there are lots of other things to like in this world that aren’t extremely harmful. On the second point, we acknowledge that this is a problem but addictions can be broken with a little help and willpower.
For those looking for good reasons to stop, there is a very long list indeed. Health reasons are one of the most popular but your finances will benefit greatly too.
Health problems include not only lung disease but also heart attacks, strokes, asthma, diabetes but also affect your oral health as well.
What effect can smoking have on your oral health?
The most significant problem that smoking can cause that is associated with oral health is oral cancer, or mouth cancer. This appears to be growing in numbers and can cause significant facial disfiguration and can even result in death. Recent figures indicate that in the last year, around 2,700 died of this in the UK.
Even if you are fortunate enough not to succumb to mouth cancer, there are still plenty of ways that smoking can damage your oral health. The most common problem that it can lead to is gum disease. Although most people that come to us with a problem do so because they have a toothache, the fact is that we also see a lot of people who have gum disease. Thankfully, most patients of Synergy Parkside keep regular appointments and therefore, this is often manageable with a scale and polish treatment. Smoking can rapidly accelerate the problem though and smokers may need to have this done more often.
There are a lot of problems that are associated with gum disease. The following are just some of the symptoms that you might have; some of them potentially serious.
- Sore and/or bleeding gums
- Redness and inflammation of the gums
- Painful and tender gums
- Bad breath/halitosis
- Loose and wobbly teeth
- Pus between teeth and gums
- Eventual tooth loss
These should not be taken lightly and you should take care of your gums as well as you do your teeth with regular cleaning and visits to the oral hygienist at your local Woking dental clinic.
How to stop smoking
There are many good reasons to stop as you can see above, but finding the best way to quit isn’t always easy and may take a bit of perseverance, and different people find that different methods work better for them than others.
Before we look at some possible methods, do look locally for help and support groups. These can be especially useful at those times when the going gets tough.
Here then, are just a few suggestions for you how you might stop smoking
- Go ‘cold turkey’. This won’t work for everyone but some people find that toughing it out for a few months is enough to enable them to stop for good. A quick check on how much money you save might help with this. If you are a twenty a day smoker, your savings over a 3 month period would be in the region of a thousand pounds. You could decide on something to buy with that at the end of your three months as an incentive.
- Switch to ‘vaping’. There have been a number or reports claiming that these aren’t entirely safe and that may well be the case. Many medical experts though do believe that they are significantly safer than smoking cigarettes. If you find that these help, they could be a transitional stage to quitting altogether.
- Nicotine patches/chewing gum. One of the reasons why people find quitting smoking so difficult is that nicotine is a very addictive substance and it is this that causes the withdrawal symptoms that makes stopping so hard. Patches and gum offer an alternative method of obtaining the nicotine but do remember that nicotine itself can cause problems including narrowing of the arteries and high blood pressure so again, this should be seen as a transitional stage to stopping altogether.
There are many different ways to quit and a search online will reveal more but these are some of the most popular. Please also consult your GP for guidance.
We will examine your gum health when you have a regular check up at Synergy Parkside, but if you have any concerns about your gum health or have noticed any of the symptoms mentioned above, please do give our Woking dental clinic a call on 01483 766355.