May 31: World No Tobacco Day
Every year, the World Health Organization (WHO) sets aside May 31st as “World No Tobacco Day.” On this day, WHO asks people from around the world to commit to a day of no smoking. They also emphasize the dangers of smoking and encourage those who smoke or use tobacco products to quit.
WHO also selects a theme or focus for each year. For 2016, WHO is asking countries around the world to consider moving to plain packaging for cigarettes—no logos, images, or wording. They believe that this plain packaging reduces the appeal of cigarettes and cuts down on misleading messages from tobacco companies.
Tobacco and Your Mouth
Most people realize the risks of smoking and second-hand smoke to their health. The damage is hard to miss—tobacco kills roughly six million people every year, and 600,000 of those are from second-hand smoke. Most of these deaths are related to the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, however, tobacco products can also wreak havoc on your mouth.
Smoking and using other tobacco products can cause a wide range of dental problems, including:
- Tooth discoloration
- Bad breath
- Inflammation of salivary gland openings
- Increased loss of bone within the jaw
- Increased risk of gum disease
- Delayed healing following any type of oral surgery
- Lower success rate for dental implants
- Increased risk of leukoplakia (white patches inside the mouth)
- Increased risk of developing oral cancer
- Dulled senses of taste and smell
When it comes to your oral health, smokeless tobacco products are just as bad as cigarettes and cigars. In fact, smokeless tobacco products like snuff and chew can also increase the risk for throat and esophagus cancers as well.
Benefits to Quitting for Your Oral Health
You can significantly decrease your risk for oral problems if you quit smoking. It is the continued behavior that increases the risk—quitting can solve a lot of problems, but it will take time. For example, 11 years after quitting, a former smoker and a non-smoker have the same chance of developing gum disease. Even just reducing the amount that you smoke can decrease your risk for gum disease and other oral health problems.
A study published by the American Dental Association reported that 97.5 percent of those who quit saw their leukoplakia resolve within about six weeks. You can also decrease your risk for oral cancer by quitting now as well.
Use World No Tobacco Day as motivation to quit smoking or using tobacco products in 2016! Your mouth (and the rest of your body) will thank you. To take the first step towards a health mouth after quitting tobacco, schedule a cleaning with Hudec Dental! Call us at 216-325-9755.