FDI Calls for a Tobacco-Free New Year and a Long-Lasting 'Smile for Life'

Posted on December 18, 2014

As World Oral Health Day (WOHD) 2015 approaches, FDI World Dental Federation wants people to make a healthy New Year’s resolution and reduce their use of tobacco – or give it up completely - as part of the 2015 World Oral Health Day ‘Smile for life’ campaign.

There are many types of tobacco available worldwide, including manufactured cigarettes, roll-your own cigarettes, snuff and chewing tobacco, and all are addictive and detrimental to health. The use of tobacco can significantly increase the risk of many serious oral health problems, including:

  • Oral cancer

  • Gum disease

  • Premature tooth loss

  • Tooth discolouration

  • Bad breath

  • Reduced ability to taste and smell

Oral cancer is amongst the most prevalent cancers worldwide and incidence rates are higher in men than women[1]. The use of tobacco, including smokeless tobacco and excessive consumption of alcohol, are the key risk factors in oral cancer and together are estimated to account for 90% of oral cancers worldwide. This percentage could be significantly lowered through a reduction in the use of tobacco and alcohol intake[2].

Speaking about the severe risks of tobacco use, Dr Patrick Hescot, FDI President-Elect, said: “To help tackle the increased risk of oral cancer, tooth loss and antisocial effects such as bad breath, it's time to reduce or, ideally, give up tobacco use. Tobacco use in all forms is dangerous for health and oral health; what better reason could you have for giving up tobacco as a New Year’s resolution?”


The FDI would also like to encourage health professionals to participate in tobacco prevention activities. Dentists and their teams can help communicate important messages to patients about the threats posed by tobacco use and help them to identify the key risk factors and the early signs of oral cancer, as well as gum disease and other oral health problems, in their early stages. Patients may not always recognise early symptoms, so the FDI and its partners encourage people of all ages to schedule regular check-ups with their dentists.


Dr Tin Chun Wong, FDI President, said: “Prevention is key and most common oral diseases, including those linked to tobacco use, are largely preventable. Alongside personal effort, oral healthcare providers can play a role in promoting healthy lifestyles by incorporating tobacco cessation programmes into their practices. This January, it’s time to give up smoking and have something new to smile about.”


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