Today is the American Cancer Society’s 37th Great American Smokeout; a perfect day to remind ourselves of how important it is to encourage our patients to stop using tobacco. People who smoke are four times more likely than non-smokers and twice as likely as former smokers to have periodontitis making smoking the number one risk factor for periodontal disease.
If we want to talk to our patients about the oral/systemic link, we don’t need to look any farther than tobacco use. According the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) smoking harms every organ of the body. Nearly one in five deaths each year is attributed to the adverse effects of smoking. For every person who dies from smoking, another 20 people are living with a smoking related disease.
Smoking cessation improves overall health reducing the risk of disease and premature death. Almost 69% of current smokers would like to quit and 52% have quit for at least one day. No one is ever too old to quit.
It can be daunting to talk to our patients about smoking cessation. We know they know smoking is harmful. Yet if we value the oral/systemic link as much as we say we do, then one way to align our values with action is to encourage our patients to quit.