Quit Smoking: Your oral health will thank you.

Quitting Tobacco:

You can do it in 2021!

By now, all of us know smoking is not good for you. Tobacco-related medical problems — the dangers of lung disease, cancer, heart problems, and low-birth-weight babies — are well documented and shared. 

While on the decline in recent years, roughly 20.2% of adults smoked in 2017. Nationally, the rate was 17.1%. In 2017, 12.5% of high school students in Oklahoma smoked cigarettes on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the rate was 8.8%. That\’s a whole lot of Oklahomans still participating in this habit.

Tobacco is terrible for your teeth too.

In fact, it\’s harmful to your entire mouth, not to mention your social life. Smelly breath, stained teeth, loss of teeth and jawbone, loss of taste, gum recession, outrageous cost, oral cancer, mouth sores, and wrinkles!

According to the CDC, cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and other forms of tobacco cause oral cancer, gum disease, and other oral health problems. Untreated tooth decay is higher in people who smoke cigarettes. Over 40% of adults aged 20 to 64 who currently smoke cigarettes have untreated tooth decay.

Tobacco\’s adverse effects on the body, particularly the mouth, are well documented. Smoking impairs the body\’s defense mechanisms and makes users more susceptible to infections like gum disease. Smoking also interferes with healing, a particular problem for patients who need treatment for periodontal disease. Once the tobacco ingredients get into the bloodstream, they reduce the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to mouth tissues.

Tobacco causes mouth cancers

Chewing (spit) tobacco is not a safe substitute for smoking. It can cause oral cancer and lead to addiction. The bloodstream quickly absorbs the extremely addictive nicotine. Chewing tobacco users have similar or even higher nicotine levels than the smoker who uses a pack or more a day. Chewing tobacco users are more susceptible to tooth decay due to the product\’s higher sugar content. And, chewing tobacco contains at least 28 known cancer-causing chemicals.

It\’s no secret that tobacco use is difficult to stop—it takes willpower and determination. Tobacco use is not just a habit; it\’s an addiction. You have to be ready to face this challenge before you commit to quitting.

Great local programs for Oklahomas who want to quit

Remind yourself of the benefits of quitting. You\’ll reduce the risk of cancer. You\’ll taste and enjoy food again. You\’ll feel more relaxed without the jitters of nicotine. You won\’t be plagued by ―smoker\’s breath. Your sense of smell will be sharper. Your family and friends will thank you.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Get help from loved ones, friends, and co-workers when going through the quitting process. 
  2. Get tips and tools from the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline.
  3. Ask another smoker to quit with you. 
  4. Call organizations such as the American Cancer Society for support groups in your area. 
  5. Get ready by setting a date to stop. 
  6. Get help by talking to your dentist or physician about nicotine cessation aids.

For more tips on quitting, visit the Oklahoma Helpline at https://okhelpline.com.

The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline offers free nonjudgmental services to help Oklahomans quit tobacco. Helpline services include text and email support, phone and web coaching, patches, gum, lozenges, and more. Since 2003, this service has helped more than 450,000 Oklahomans with their tobacco cessation efforts, saving the state of Oklahoma an estimated $18 million each year in direct medical costs.

It\’s a program sponsored by the TSET – Oklahoma\’s Tobacco Settlement Endowment Fund. Another valuable TSET program is \”Shape Your Future.\” The program supports Oklahomans\’
efforts to eat better, move more and be tobacco-free. This public education intervention employs informative, aspirational, and motivational messaging, as well as free online tips and tools. It\’s designed to help Oklahomans embrace health where they live, work, learn and play.

Shape Your Future is funded through the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust and the Oklahoma State Department of Health. To learn more, visit https://shapeyourfutureok.com.