Smoking – the view from your mouth…

Do I need to quit smoking to have dental implant treatment? EvoDental’s Dental Therapist Lauren talks about the relationship between smoking and oral health

Many people know smoking is bad for their general health and the effects it can cause, but how does smoking affect your oral health and your EvoSolution treatment?

If you’re a smoker, you’re probably aware that cigarettes can cause your breath to smell less than pleasant and that your teeth may have a yellowish tinge to them. However, what’s more important is that cigarette smoke has the potential to cause damage to the mouth which in many ways may not be visible to the human eye.

How does smoking effect my oral health?

  • A build up of plaque and calculus within the mouth
  • Increased risk of developing gum disease
  • Recovery time takes longer following surgery, with a higher risk of infection
  • Success rate of dental implants is decreased
  • More likely to suffer from oral infections
  • Bone loss within the jaw
  • Smoking is also known to increase the risk of oral cancer and this applies whether you smoke cigarettes, cigars, or pipes.

The effects smoking has on dental implants:

  • Effects the Implant Lifespan
  • Smoking during the healing period can greatly increase the chance of infection and lead to implant failure/loss.
  • Bone loss around dental implants have been shown to be as much as 0.16 mm per year, which although small is a significant amount and can add up quickly as the years pass by.
  • Using tobacco will greatly diminish your body’s ability to heal itself

Trans-theoretical Model of Change

So, let’s talk about something called the Trans-theoretical model of change and how quitting smoking can be brought into this process.

Many people know smoking is bad for their general health and the effects it can cause, but how does smoking affect your oral health and your EvoSolution treatment?

Stage 1 – pre contemplation is were the individual is not thinking about changing their smoking habits

Stage 2 – the individual moves to a contemplation stage where they can consider some benefits of quitting but is still indecisive in moving forward with the decision. Many patients will be in stage 2 once they have visited the clinic and had their consultation with one of our clinicians.

Stage 3 – making a decision usually comes from specific triggering which increases a patient’s motivation. For example, we advise all our patients the treatment we provide is more likely to be successful if the patient gives up smoking.

Stage 4 – this is the biggest step when active Change is made, and actions are taken. This may be receiving help with a stop smoking service or attending the GP and the individual have stopped or reduced their smoking habits.

Stage 5 – the maintenance phase is the hard part; it’s persevering through with the new behavioural change and change has been adopted.

Stage 6 – the relapse phase. Not every individual reaches the relapse stages and will have exited the wheel of change at the maintenance phase permanently.

The relapse phase is a common area to get to in the wheel of change on a temporary basis where their habit has slipped, perhaps life’s stresses have led to this.  As your dental therapist I want you to understand that if you find yourself in this constant cycle don’t worry if you find self in that relapse stage. Rather than see the lapse as a sign of failure of power, just see it as a natural stage in the process of making the change to quit altogether.

I am in the Pre contemplation stage, what should I do?

You have the choice to get on track so from this blog if your now in the pre contemplation stage I want you to do the following:

  • Recognise your habits
  • Weigh up the pros and cons for you of stopping smoking
  • Discuss with friends, family and professionals your contemplating quitting
  • Contact us, we can help you reach that goal and help direct you on the wheel of change

It’s no word of a lie when we as dental professionals tell our patients that smoking and oral health don’t mix. However, what are the alternatives?

The bottom line here is that smoking is not good for your mouth, health and although other substitutes may seem better, they all have oral issues to.

With the current situation of COVID-19, many of us feel stuck at home. Having a cigarette is a great excuse to go outside ‘for a quick smoke’ etc. but in turn, leads to a higher change of relapsing.

Ultimately, you’re the one who can make that positive change!

By Lauren McGovern, Dental Therapist at EvoDental

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