Oral Cancer – Another Good Reason To Stop Smoking In The New Year

Our Clapham dentist advises why this is still a good New Year resolution to make.

It is widely accepted that smoking is a major contributory factor in incidence of cancer, but, whilst most people would associate this fact with lung cancer, oral cancer is also common, and smoking, as with other types of cancer, can contribute towards its development.

Tobacco contains carcinogenic chemicals that can cause damage to DNA and lead to the development of cancer. Not surprisingly the risks of developing cancer of the mouth rise amongst those who smoke tobacco. Poor diet and some other substances such as chewing tobacco and the human papilloma virus can also contribute to cancer, but so too can long standing wounds.

Because broken or jagged teeth can increase the risk of cancer by creating mouth ulcers,  it is very important that a good standard of oral hygiene is maintained. This means not only good oral health care at home but also regular appointments with our Clapham dentists and hygienists. These regular checks not only allow us to treat any damaged teeth, but also offers a chance for early detection of any potential signs of oral cancer.

Although regular appointments with a dentist are essential, you can greatly reduce the risk of oral cancer by stopping smoking. This can be a huge struggle for some but there are ways to improve your chances of  eventual success:

  • choose the right method to help give up smoking
  • create a plan
  • seek advice
  • be determined!

These may seem obvious but many people fail because they simply do not give enough thought as to how they will stop. Choosing whether to go ‘cold turkey’ and just stop smoking, or gradually reduce, or use nicotine replacement is a good first step. Making a plan, with a clear date and time to start quitting will help, as without one the whole enterprise becomes vague and can be endlessly delayed. The plan should include getting rid of smoking equipment as well as cigarettes, purchasing any nicotine replacements, telling friends and relatives, and trying to identify the most dangerous times and situations that can lead to relapse.

Some people try to quit smoking without any professional advice or support. For some people the whole attempt at quitting can be extremely stressful and difficult and talking things through with a professional can help. Health care professionals can offer advice and support as well as point those struggling towards others who can help.

If you would like to stop smoking and reduce not only the risk of oral cancer, but also gum disease and stained teeth, speak to our hygienist at the Confidental Clinic in Clapham who will be able to point you in the right direction for help and support. If you have not had an oral health check for some time, please call the Confidental Clinic on 020 7801 9060 to arrange an appointment.