Your health and lifestyle habits have a direct impact on your oral health. Recent research has shown there is a correlation between obesity and gum disease. And did you know that smoking tobacco products increases your chance of gum disease and more importantly bone loss due to gum disease? Complicating matters, smoking can increase the risks of gum disease treatment failing because it hinders healing. Oral health threats can truly affect all over health!
The things we think are cool can be health hazard! Take oral piercings for example. Oral infections are very common in those with piercings. Cracking or chipping a tooth runs a close second. Piercings in the mouth can lead to gum recession which cause teeth to loosen and fall out.
Of course the most obvious threat to oral health is sugar. Sugar causes plaque to develop and combined with carbohydrates causes acid build-up, which can wear down the tooth enamel and cause cavities to form.
Without proper treatment these issues can cause serious threats to oral health as well as overall physical health.
Oral Health Threat Facts
- About 90 percent of people with mouth cancer and some types of throat cancer have used tobacco. The risk of developing these cancers increases as people smoke or chew more often or for a longer time.
- Smokers are six times more likely than nonsmokers to develop these cancers.
- About 37 percent of patients who continue to smoke after cancer treatment will develop second cancers of the mouth, throat or larynx. While only 6 percent of people who quit smoking will develop these secondary cancers.
- Tobacco smoke from cigarettes, cigars or pipes can cause cancers anywhere in the mouth or the part of the throat just behind the mouth. It can also cause cancers of the larynx, lungs, esophagus, kidneys, bladder and several other organs. Pipe smoking also can cause cancer in the area of the lips that contacts the pipe stem.
- Smokeless tobacco has been linked to cancers of the cheek, gums and inner surface of the lips. Smokeless tobacco increases the risk of these cancers by nearly 50 times.
Steps to Good Oral Hygiene
Quitting smoking and losing weight a both important steps for improving your oral health.
Obesity increases your chances of developing gum disease, in addition to other health problems. Creating a workout routine or finding a workout buddy can help make exercise more fun and make it easier to achieve your goals
Quitting smoking is a process, it’s not easy but it’s possible. Put yourself on a path to success and create a plan:
- Visit your dentist for a cleaning. A clean feeling mouth feels great and can help kick start your new healthier lifestyle.
- Get rid of all smoking triggers, such as cigarettes, lighters and ashtrays.
- Incorporate healthy oral substitutes to help curb cravings. Chewing sugar free-gum, eating healthy snacks and drinking water can help you beat a craving.
- Make a list of all the things that trigger your cravings, and then figure out a way to cope for each craving. Having a plan will help you stay strong when a craving occurs.
- When you feel you need to smoke, brush your teeth instead.
A good way to help prevent sugars from damaging your teeth is to eat fewer sugary foods. When you do choose to indulge, do so during meal times, rather than snacking throughout the day. It is also important to practice good oral hygiene. Regular brushing and flossing and biannual dental visits are good strategies to help keep your teeth healthy.
For more articles on dental health, see our main blog page.