Kick Butts Day is a national campaign that helps kids understand the importance of saying “No” to smoking.
Most people know that smoking can destroy your body and create lung cancer and heart disease, but did you know that smoking can also demolish your smile? Not only does smoking stain your teeth and give you bad breath, but it also increases your risks of tooth loss, developing gum disease, and becoming a victim of oral cancer.
Tooth Loss: A smile is the first attribute you notice about someone, and a missing tooth can really affect the smile’s appearance as well as the person’s self-esteem. And smoking can do just that—make you lose teeth. Smoking can also cause a strange and unattractive condition known as Black Hairy Tongue. This condition refers to the growths on the tongue that make the tongue look hairy and an odd yellow, brown, green, or black color. It isn’t attractive at all.
Gum Disease: Smoking accounts for 75 percent of periodontal disease (which is also known as gum disease) in adults. Kids, you don’t want gum disease! This condition causes bad breath, makes your teeth sensitive to cold temperatures (think, no ice cream), and makes your gums swell up and bleed. Healthy gums stay snug against the teeth and protect the tooth’s roots. When you smoke, the gums become irritated and they begin to move away from the teeth, which is called gum recession. The more you smoke, the more likely you will develop gum disease. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those who smoke less than half a pack per day are three times more likely to suffer from gum disease than nonsmokers. Those who smoke more than a pack and a half per day are at six times the risk.
Oral Cancer: Smoking is the primary cause of throat and oral cancers. Oral cancers are life threatening because they tend to be small and painless, so they aren’t usually discovered until the later stages of development, which are difficult to fight. The good news is that your dentist or doctor can examine your oral cavity and your oral tissues and identify any oral cancer signs at the early stages. This process is called an oral cancer screening, and it is a routine part of your Smiles Dental checkups. You can learn more about oral cancer at the Oral Cancer Foundation.
Smoking makes it extremely difficult for smokers to have a healthy life, especially because of all of the life-threatening oral health problems it creates. So, if you don’t smoke, don’t start! If you do smoke, please consider quitting. You can start kicking the habit by talking to your dentist and mapping out a plan that will help you achieve that goal. Your dentist can also provide any necessary dental treatment to repair the damage the smoking has done to your smile.
So go out there and Kick Butts and keep you and your smile healthy!