How to quit smoking and other tobacco products
Each year Statistics Canada surveys Canadians about their tobacco use, 2017 is the most recently released survey data. It was found that 16.2% of Canadians aged 12 and older smoked daily or occasionally. For the purposes of the survey only cigarettes are considered as smoking. However, all tobacco products have a negative impact on your oral health and your overall health. As dentists, we’re concerned about your oral health feel quitting smoking can dramatic affects in a positive way. Here’s our guide on how to quit smoking.
It’s never too late to quit smoking
If you have used tobacco products (cigarettes, chewing tobacco, vape pens, etc.) for a while now, and you might think that it’s too late to quit. We are here to tell you that it is never too late to stop using tobacco products and doing so can have a dramatic and positive impact on your health.
How smoking and tobacco impacts your oral health
- you may experience stained teeth, tongue or cosmetic issues that are hard to correct.
- your taste buds will be affected by dull flavor, and your sense of smell might also suffer.
- your ability to heal after dental work, like tooth extraction, will take longer.
- you are likely to suffer from gum disease requiring more regular cleanings.
- at worst, tobacco products contribute to more significant health issues like oral cancers.
Quitting smoking – let’s star at the beginning
The first three days of your quitting process will be the most difficult. This is when your body begins to go into nicotine withdrawal and uncomfortable symptoms like irritability, headaches, anxiety, and fatigue appear. Luckily, this is also when some of the more positive side effects of quitting tobacco begin to appear as well. Within 20 minutes of your last nicotine fix your blood pressure and heart rate begin to return to a healthier level!
Whether you are a cigarette smoker, use chewing tobacco, or use a vape device, quitting will be one of the harder tasks you will be faced with. Keep in mind that when you quit tobacco, you are eliminating small annoyances like bad breath, but also reducing your risk for heart disease, cancer, and other similar complications.
Here are the best tips to help you stop using these products.
Have a ‘quit smoking’ plan
Work with both your dentist and doctor to devise a plan to help you stay accountable and focused. When you alert others, who have your interests in mind, you have a better chance at quitting. Take your quitting plan one day, and one craving at a time.
Nicotine replacement therapy
Discuss this strategy with your physician, which may help you ease off the addictive aspect of tobacco. There are several products on the market that can help to ease the severity of cravings. Speak with your doctor to determine the product that may work for you.
Change your patterns around smoking and cigarette usage
The use of tobacco is usually triggered by subliminal patterns that you might not realize you have. Evaluate when and where you smoke and decide to avoid those patterns by replacing those moments with healthy habits. For example, instead of having a cigarette with your morning coffee, find something else to do with your free hand – take up solving crosswords, read a newspaper or articles on your mobile device.
Cravings only last for about 30 seconds. If you can distract yourself for those 30 seconds you are less likely to indulge in the craving. Try reminding yourself why you are quitting tobacco. It can help to write down a list of the reasons why you want to stop using tobacco products, and then review it when you feel a craving coming on.
Create a health and wellness plan centered around quitting smoking
Many people who use tobacco products find that they quickly become short of breath during physical activity. A “smokers cough” is one of the most common signs that your tobacco use is negatively impacting your health. When you are quitting it is important to replace your previously negative behaviors with new, healthier ones. Picking up an old athletic hobby can be a great way to distract yourself from tobacco cravings. You could also use the money you are no longer spending on tobacco products to pay for a gym membership, buy new sports equipment, or to join an athletic club.
Take the first step to quit smoking
The first step to quitting tobacco is to decide you no longer want it to control you or negatively impact your health. You cannot hit a target that you cannot identify. Vague goals and one-off moments of good eating and exercising won’t be enough. Devise a wellness plan with help from professionals and family and remind yourself of ‘why’ you’re quitting each morning.
The team at Regent Avenue Dental Centre have experience helping clients quit using tobacco products and can assist you with this process. We are also able to help with the restoration of your teeth, and can provide a complete oral exam to determine if tobacco use has impacted your oral health. Contact us today to make an appointment and take the next big step in your quitting tobacco plan, we know you can do it!