The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently launched a new campaign focused on educating the public on the oral health dangers associated with smoking. ADHA supports this initiative, and is working to help spread the word about how smoking relates to periodontal disease and other oral health issues.
As dental hygienists are well aware, periodontal (or gum) disease is an infection of the tissue and bones that support teeth. In severe cases, the bone and tissue that hold the teeth in place can break down, leading people to lose many or all of their teeth. The CDC has produced new TV ads and videos that use personal stories to demonstrate the link between smoking and gum disease. The ADHA is helping share that message through social media and other communication tools.
The National Institutes of Health calls smoking “one of the most significant risk factors” for gum disease in the United States. Tobacco use in any form — cigarettes, pipes and smokeless (chewing) tobacco — raises your risk for gum disease.
Smoking weakens a person’s immune system, which makes it harder to fight off a gum infection. Smokers are twice as likely as a nonsmoker to have gum disease. The longer someone smokes, the greater his or her risk for gum disease. And treatments for gum disease may not work as well for people who smoke.
When talking to patients, colleagues, family and friends who smoke, let them know it’s never too late to quit. In fact, nearly 70 percent of smokers say they’d like to quit. The CDC has a toll-free number, 800/QUIT-NOW, that can connect smokers with free help to improve their odds of quitting smoking.
For more resources that you can use to help start this conversation with patients about how to quit smoking, visithttp://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/partners/health/dental/.