A new survey of 2000 smokers by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) has found that less than one in two (44%) smokers in the UK are worried about the negative effects of smoking on their teeth, and only in one in four (27%) are concerned about the effects of smoking on their gums.
Women smokers tend to be more concerned with the effects of smoking on their teeth, with just under half (49%) listing their teeth as a concern, compared to just 38% of men. Smokers in the 18-24 year age group are the most concerned about the effects of smoking on their oral health.
With smokers risking damaging their oral health due to their habit, the BHF is encouraging dentists to use this year’s No Smoking Day as an opportunity to raise awareness and boost participation among patients by promoting quit aids in their practice and local support services available in their area.
Dr Mike Knapton, BHF Associate Medical Director, said: “Action by dental teams to reduce tobacco use will help to improve dental treatment outcomes, promote oral and general health, and ultimately save lives.
“Dentists have always played a big role in raising awareness of No Smoking Day and the dangers of smoking. Dental clinics should consider promoting the event in their offices in the weeks leading up to No Smoking Day.
“Engaging your patients on the subject might help them take the first step towards a smoke-free life. Dental practices and dentists who want to get involved can visit NoSmokingDay.org.uk to order their No Smoking Day organiser pack.”
The nicotine and tar found in cigarettes and tobacco products cause staining of the teeth. In a short amount of time smokers will start to see a yellow discolouration, which could get worse over time. Cigarette smoke also interferes with the mouth’s chemistry, creating a build-up of plaque on the teeth which causes gum disease. Gum disease is still the most common cause of tooth loss in adults.
The British Heart Foundation is calling on all smokers to attempt to quit on this year’s No Smoking Day 2015, held on 11 March. The theme is ‘Proud to be a Quitter’, which showcases the inspirational stories of ex-smokers to highlight the life-changing benefits of quitting.