2020 – A Year To Change Your Smoking And Drinking Habits
Make this the year to improve your health and minimise two serious threats to your teeth and gums.
We hope that all of our Bedford patients had a fantastic Christmas and New Year, and with January now fully underway, some of you may have already made a start on your new year resolutions as well.
For those that haven’t, and indeed those that have, we would like to add a couple of suggestions to your list for consideration too.
Our prime concern for our patients here at The Dental Centre Bedford is for them to have a healthy set of teeth and gums. Diligent cleaning and a sensible diet play important roles in this, but there are a couple of other things that can have a serious effect, and it is these that we would like you to consider adding to your list of resolutions.
Smoking and alcohol consumption
Both of these are habits that are hard to break. Most people who have smoked and given up will acknowledge how difficult this can be. Alcohol can also be addictive but can also be the result of peer pressure too.
We will take a look at each of these in turn and at how they can negatively affect your oral health.
Whether it is cigarettes, cigars, a pipe or even chewing tobacco, any tobacco product is harmful to your oral health and cutting down or preferably stopping altogether is likely to start to improve the health of your teeth and gums. Although fewer people now smoke than has been the case in the recent past, there are still approximately 4 million people in the UK who currently smoke. This is an awful lot of people that are putting many aspects of their health at risk for what is very often simply a habit.
This doesn’t mean that stopping smoking is easy and indeed, some people will find it very difficult. It is advisable for anyone considering stopping to seek out support from friends, family and even professionals where needed.
The reality though is that if you smoke, you are greatly increasing the risks of both serious gum disease and oral cancers. These can be life changing and in the case of oral cancers can even cause disfigurement and, in a worst case scenario, death. Stopping smoking may take some time, perhaps with a few hiccups along the way. With help and a little determination though, you can kick this habit and improve your oral and general health.
Alcohol can also be very addictive to those that succumb to it. Even those who drink ‘socially’ are at an increased risk of a number of dental problems including tooth decay caused by the sugars in many alcoholic drinks.
Even if we leave aside sugar content though, alcohol can still be responsible for negative consequences for our oral health. A visit to a hospital emergency department on a weekend night will reveal a significant number of people in there from alcohol related injuries. From a dental perspective, alcohol can cause us to lose our balance and fall or collide with objects, it may also convince us that we are capable of doing something that we quite clearly are not.
Any of these can result in the breaking or knocking out of teeth, potentially resulting in restorative treatment such as dental implant placement and the resultant expense.
Even those who don’t drink to excess can be affected. Drinking causes a dry mouth and this, in turn, often leads to an increase in potentially harmful oral bacteria that may lead to gingivitis and even periodontitis. If not treated in time, these can also lead to tooth loss as well. Make sure that you drink plenty of water to avoid severe dehydration and consider either drinking fewer or weaker drinks or alternating them with soft drinks to reduce their effect. Your teeth will thank you for it. We appreciate that you may also have other things that you want to achieve this year but if you manage to achieve these as well, you are much less likely to suffer from a large number of oral health issues.
You will, of course, still need regular professional supervision by a dentist and by the hygienist too. Doing this, kicking the aforementioned habits and good personal care will help you keep your teeth strong and healthy throughout 2020 and well beyond.
Please also make sure that you have a check up appointment booked with us. If you haven’t or are not sure, please call The Dental Centre Bedford on 01234 819868 to arrange or check and our team will be pleased to help.