Preventing gum disease begins with breaking detrimental habits. Smoking is a habit that you may not think affects the health of your gums, but it does. Quitting smoking is an important step to longterm dental health.
If you would like to learn more about how to quit smoking, consult your physician. He or she can suggest the most effective smoking-cessation program for your individual needs. In addition, schedule a consult with your dentist to talk about your goals, and get a cleaning while you’re there to aid in preventing gum disease. There is nothing better than clean teeth and fresh breath to get you off to a great nonsmoking start!
Countdown to Quit Smoking
Planning and mentally preparing yourself to quit is sometimes as important as quitting itself. Here is a sample 7-day “countdown to quitting” that can help you start preparing for a smoke-free future.
- Schedule an exam with your physician to identify the right smoking- cessation program.
- Schedule a consultation with your dentist for a cleaning and oral health checkup.
- Educate yourself on how to prevent gum disease and cosmetic treatments available in your area. For example, investigate tooth whitening or veneers to remove tobacco stains from your teeth.
- List activities that you can do to replace the situations in which you smoke.
- Think of three alternatives to hold in your hand or your mouth instead of a cigarette. These could include things like a carrot or chewing gum.
- Consider an aerobic exercise program. People have noted that aerobic exercise mimics the sensation experienced when taking a drag of a cigarette and provides relief from tobacco withdrawal, helping them quit smoking. Exercise also reduces stress, which can be a contributing factor to smoking.
- Investigate other activities in which to participate, such as prayer meditation, tai chi, yoga, or spa treatments, including massage. These activities have been known to reduce stress and decrease withdrawal symptoms.
- Create a “quit smoking” calendar in anticipation of your lifestyle changes.
- Begin to do the Day 2 activities and alternatives.
- Tell friends and family of your plans to quit smoking.
- Reward yourself for initiating positive steps toward kicking the smoking habit.
- Stop buying cigarettes.
- Think of what you’ll do with the extra money you save.
- Think of friends or family you will reach out to if you need help.
- Know your limitations. If fortitude and self-control do not offer enough support, ask your doctor about a smoking-cessation counseling service, nicotine patch or gum, nasal inhalers and sprays, or non-nicotine pills to help you quit smoking.
- Initiate a new dental hygiene routine in order to prevent the onset of gum disease. Explore new mouthwashes or flosses, automatic toothbrushes, tongue cleaners, fluoride treatments, or even desensitizers for sensitive teeth.
- Put away lighters and ashtrays.
- Throw away cigarettes and smoking accessories.
- Clean your clothes to get rid of the smell of cigarette smoke.
- Get ready to discover the brand-new you!
Educational Resources to help Quit Smoking
Here are some online resources for information about how to quit smoking and start preventing gum disease.