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Your Dentist Can Help You Quit Smoking
Mar 2018
Dr Saranya V
MDS, PhD, Oral Pathologist And TII Dental Professional, Apollo WHITE Dental

Tobacco related deaths are increasing year by year. There are about 4000 chemicals in tobacco and out of the 100 identified poisons, 63 are known to cause cancer. Recent studies have shown that 30-40 per cent of individuals in the 15 -30 years age group use tobacco and 40-50 per cent of these people develop oral cancer. Smoking causes a couple of adverse changes that include halitosis (bad breath) abrasions of the teeth, delayed wound healing, gum disease, tobacco related keratosis, premalignant lesions (minor changes in mouth that later transforms into cancer), life-threatening changes in the mouth, oral and throat cancers.

How To Quit Smoking
Quitting smoking is a very difficult task, as tobacco addiction is a cluster of physiological, cognitive and behavioural phenomena. However, there are several effective ways which can aid an individual to quit this dangerous habit, such as counselling by experts, medications and so on. Quitting the habit of smoking, or chewing tobacco has several benefits such as an improvement in overall health, improved sense of smell and taste, prevention of cancer, improved self-esteem and also the saving of money.

Can Dental Professionals Help?
Dentists can play a significant role in helping their patients to quit smoking, by identifying the oral symptoms of using tobacco, informing patients of these and asking their patients whether they are ready to stop. Further, a dental clinic can be the ideal place for a patient to be motivated to quit tobacco related habits through counselling. Most smokers find it difficult to give up smoking and some don’t even think of giving up tobacco!

Very few smokers consider stopping this habit, but are not sure about how to proceed. By examining and offering advice, experts of the dental care team can guide or help patients. Tobacco intervention can be made possible with the help of Tobacco Intervention Initiative (TII) dental professionals who can evaluate the degree of dependence and provide the right support like medications, psychological counselling sessions, rewards and further check-ups.