Smoking and oral health
The harmful effects of smoking are not confined to your lungs: they also pose health problems for your mouth. You probably know that smoking stains teeth and causes bad breath, but did you know that it is a common cause of gum disease and tooth loss? Or that every day, one Quebecker dies from cancer of the mouth, throat or tongue due to smoking? Read on to find out more.
Cigarettes and oral diseases
Smoking promotes tooth decay in two ways: by increasing the accumulation of tartar and plaque on the teeth and by causing dry mouth.
Smokers are up to four times more likely to suffer from periodontal (gum) disease than non-smokers. In addition, the disease progresses more rapidly in smokers than in non-smokers. If left untreated, periodontal disease will lead to the destruction of the gums and tooth loss.
Even if smokers receive treatment to halt oral disease, it may not work unless they quit. In fact, due to its harmful effects on the blood and the mucous membranes in the mouth, smoking delays healing of mouth sores (e.g. after a tooth extraction), and increases the risk of complications (especially following insertion of dental implants).
Tobacco is also the cause of most cases of cancer of the lips, tongue, mouth, gums, throat, tonsils and pharynx.
Quitting smoking and improving oral health
When someone stops smoking, the harmful effects of tobacco on their oral health are rapidly reduced. For example,
- taste, smell and breathing improve in the first 48 hours;
- adverse effects on the oral mucosa dissipate gradually over the first three months;
- after a year without smoking, gum health returns to normal;
- five to ten years after quitting, a former smoker’s risk of oral cancer is similar to that of someone who has never smoked.
Did you know?
- Smokers are 5 to 9 times more likely to suffer from cancer of the mouth.
- Tobacco is the leading cause of cancer of the oral cavity.
- Each year, an estimated 1,000 Quebeckers are diagnosed with oral cancer and 300 die as a result.
Are you convinced? Have you decided to butt out? Feel free to talk to your family pharmacists. They can help you create a personalized strategy that will enable you to reach your goal.
A consultation will be required to make sure you meet the prescribing criteria. To avail yourself of this service, you may need to book an appointment with your pharmacist. Ask a member of the pharmacy team for more details. Some Uniprix-affiliated pharmacies also offer an online appointment booking service. To locate the store nearest you providing this service, click here.
*Certain conditions must be respected. Fees may apply. Ask a member of the pharmacy team for more information. Pharmacists alone are responsible for the practice of pharmacy. They offer related services only on behalf of pharmacist-owners.