If you’ve already started your New Year’s resolution list for 2020, good for you! Being proactive with self-improvement goals helps you get the process started with a higher potential for success.

According to Forbes.com, “Studies have shown that less than 25% of people actually stay committed to their resolutions after just 30 days, and only 8% accomplish them.” (https://www.forbes.com/sites/ashiraprossack1/2018/12/31/goals-not-resolutions/#2df7925a3879)

If quitting smoking is one of your resolutions, we’d like to give your some added reasons to achieve this — your smile! The information below will hopefully give you the determination you need to become a Quitter in the best way!

Although smokers often reveal their habit through a smile of stained teeth, “smokers breath” is another trait that quitting will help you disassociated yourself from.

However, the problems of smoking go far deeper when it comes to oral health. Smokers are far more susceptible to tooth loss and have a higher risk of periodontal (gum) disease than nonsmokers. and slower healing following extractions, gum treatment and oral surgery.

Smoking is drying to oral tissues, creating an environment for increased plaque levels. Plaque is the sticky firm that can harden on teeth and known as tartar, or calculus. This is what your hygienist is scraping off teeth during your dental cleanings.

If not removed periodically, these mass colonies of oral bacteria continue to thrive and reproduce. In addition to causing cavities by the destruction of tooth enamel, gum tissues are destroyed.

Initial symptoms of early gum disease include persistent bad breath, tender gums and gums that bleed easily when brushing. As it progresses, pus pockets form at the base of teeth. Teeth loosen as oral bacteria attack the bone and tissues that support tooth roots. Eventually, some teeth may require removal.

Research has shown that the potent bacteria of gum disease can enter the bloodstream through tears in diseased gum tissue. This bacteria has been shown to trigger systemic reactions that have been linked to a number of serious health problems. These include heart disease, stroke, preterm babies, arthritis, diabetes, certain types of cancer, impotency, and Alzheimer’s disease.

In addition to protecting oral health, smokers have many reasons to kick the habit. A few are:

• Smokers decrease life expectancy by 10–15 years, on average. For those who are age 40 or under, quitting can reduce excess mortality that’s attributed to smoking by 90%. Quit before the age of 30 and you’ll reduce this by 97%.

• Tobacco contains chemicals that are known to be harmful to the body, putting smokers on a direct path to an estimated 30% of all cancer diseases and deaths.

• Ninety percent of lung cancer is attributable to smoking. Smoking also increases the risk of pancreatic cancer, cervical cancer, bladder cancer, cancer of the kidneys, liver cancer, stomach cancer and leukemia.

• Smoking (including ‘chew,’ or smokeless tobacco) is responsible for nearly 90% of oral cancers (lips, mouth and throat). It is a known cause for emphysema and other respiratory diseases as well as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Pregnant women who smoke have a greater risk for first-trimester spontaneous abortion, preterm births, low birth weight babies and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

• Women who smoke are at risk for early menopause while men who smoke have an increased risk for impotency.

Second-hand smoke contains at least 50 known carcinogens and other harmful chemicals. It is not uncommon for children of smoking parents to wake up with ‘smoker’s cough.’

If you’d like some pointers on keeping your resolution, there are a number of online support sources for those who wish to quit. One you may find particularly helpful is: http://smokefree.gov/

If you suspect you have gum disease or are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, call us at 219-987-5733 to arrange an examination. Gum disease only worsens without treatment.