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Posts tagged “Smoking”

Are E-Cigarettes Now Just A Staging Post On The Way To Smoking?

383291_blogThe growing phenomenon of e-cigarettes is now thought to be a staging post to start smoking rather than a substitute to quit smoking.

Evidence suggests that rather than deterring teenagers from smoking e-cigarettes are actually encouraging them to take up the dangerous habit.

Scientists from the Centre for Tobacco Research and Education carried out a 12 month study and, discovered that the number of teenagers buying e-cigarettes had doubled.

This has raised fears that the products are acting as an intermediate staging post; the teenagers then move on to full blown cigarette smoking.

Smoking is one of the major causes of oral cancer with around 6,000 people each year in the UK alone being diagnosed with the disease.

As such, on the surface it would appear that e-cigarettes are a helpful approach. But according to the head of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr. Nigel Carter a recent survey found over half of respondents believed they were a safe alternative to smoking.

The question being asked now is should e-cigarettes be only offered by doctors and not freely available on the open market?

Good oral health can save you money

In the UK most people probably visit an NHS dentist. However many others will also see a private practitioner.

Either way, both types of patient will have to pay out a certain amount of money for any treatment that’s required. But in these days of budgeting, strict financial controls, austerity and so on, it is imperative for the vast majority of people to ensure they don’t pay out more than they need to. And that includes dental charges.

Yet, saving money is also a great by product of keeping to a sensible oral health regime.

For instance, by visiting your dentist regularly, other than the fee for a check up, it is likely that if you have looked after your teeth in the intervening period you won’t need any work carried out.

However there are also simple steps that you can do each day that will help maintain good dental hygiene. For instance, rinsing teeth after a meal helps get rid of any excess food trapped between teeth.

Similarly, chewing sugarless gum helps clean the teeth as it forces the release of saliva which is a natural cleaning agent.

Brushing teeth at least twice a day is vital and this should be performed for around 2 minutes to ensure they are cleaned properly. That also goes for the tongue, which is often forgotten about. The muscle carries bacteria as much as the teeth and gums.

While brushing is good, flossing on top is even better as it ensures that the area between teeth which brushes can’t reach is also kept clean.

Finally other tips which can help reduce the overall bill you could be charged for dental treatment include using a anti-bacterial mouth wash, cutting out smoking and reducing the amount of alcohol drunk as well as cutting down on ingesting sugary products.

Eating a proper, healthy diet is also beneficial.

Stop Smoking and Keep Your Implants

That’s the stark warning from one dentist, who believes patients who smoke regularly are putting the hard work that went into their tooth restoration therapy at risk.

Dr. Kevin Sands a dental implantologist believes that smoking and improper oral hygiene could result in patients losing any implanted tooth simply because they weren’t prepared to look after the denture, preferring instead to continue with a habit known to cause damage.

The dentist points to recent research, which suggests that tobacco is a major risk factor in the survival of dental implants. For example, those who live a healthy smoke-free lifestyle have a 98.6% success rate of maintaining their implants, whereas for those who smoke the failure rate is 15.8%.

To be clear, Dr. Sands is not saying that anyone who smokes is going to lose their implants. What he is saying, however, is that around 16 out of every 100 smokers are likely to lose their implants.

Dental implantology is a growing cosmetic dental practice nowadays with more and more people opting for the service. Dentists believe having an implant rather than artificial removable dentures is not only healthier for the patient but also offers them the chance to maintain proper jaw functioning. In short, implants are effectively as permanent as normal teeth while removable dentures can often become loose and ill fitting over time.

Raising Awareness of Oral Cancer

Dentists in Australia are calling for the dental profession in particular and the medical profession more widely, to raise awareness of oral cancer.

It seems that at least 3 Australians are diagnosed every day with the disease, and survival rates are low. Researchers believe the latter is because diagnosis is late, which in turn leads to the question of why there isn’t a greater awareness. The Australian Dental Association (ADA) has launched a campaign to do just that. The association believes that becoming aware of the symptoms and signs early on will improve both the prognosis and outcome of the disease. In short, many more people will survive.

Speaking during the annual dental health week in Australia, the chairman of the ADA Dr Peter Alldritt stressed the importance of regular dental checkups. Doing so will help catch any symptoms before anything could develop.

Dr. Alldritt also pointed out that there are a number of things that patients can do to reduce the risk of oral cancer occurring. These include cutting out smoking and cutting down drinking alcohol.

The dentist also pointed out that skin cancer could occur in the lips if they are exposed to the sun without protection of a proprietary sunscreen.

Other risks are a poor diet, including a lack of vegetables.

Dr. Alldritt also said that recent research seems to suggest that the human papilloma virus can be transferred from the genitalia to the mouth. This apparently can increase the risk of developing oral cancer if found in the oral cavity. Cervical cancer vaccines however, are believed to be able to help.

Dental Health week in Australia takes place during the first week in August.

The Menopause and Tooth Loss

Every woman faces it at some point in their lives and the menopause brings with it changes that take some time to getting accustomed to. Thankfully, due to the enormous amount of help around, this transition can be much easier for today’s women in comparison to the previous generations. However, new research has claimed that the menopause also affects oral health as well.

After studying over 1,000 post-menopausal women, one in four of these are more than likely to suffer from tooth loss over the course of five years. This can then increase to 90% if other harmful factors are in force such as those with diabetes and those who smoke.

The study, which took place in America, discovered that 293 women out of 1,021 (or 28%) who were post-menopausal had suffered tooth loss during this period. Unlike other studies, this particular study has not solely focused on the possible link between menopause and tooth loss being only due to factors such as lack of oestrogen and bone loss and has highlighted smoking and diabetes as other contributing reasons.

Published in the “Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology”, the study is one of only a few studies that have concentrated on charting the oral health of post-menopausal women.

The Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr. Nigel Carter, commented on the findings claimed by this study: “Tooth loss can occur in anyone at any age, but this latest research quantifies a substantial risk to women in the post-menopausal period…What is also clear from the research is that the cumulative effects of risk factors such as smoking, diabetes, weight and previous poor oral health all combine to create an exceptionally high risk of tooth loss, which will have a further impact on quality of life and self-image…For this group of people the researchers forecast the risk will more than treble to between eight and nine out of every ten women suffering tooth loss.”

Dentists: A Breath of Fresh Air for Smokers

Derby dentists have banded together to help smokers kick their habit during National Smile Month by offering them a free referral to an expert. The new initiative, in partnership with Fresh Start, Derby’s NHS Stop Smoking Service, has already been joined by 10 practices in the area, with more set to join.

Dental practices in Derby are being asked to take part in the scheme, which has been designed to make it as easy as possible to refer smokers to appropriate health experts to make a fresh start.

Stop Smoking advisor Lucia White, from Fresh Start, which is part of Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, said: “We wanted to work with dental practices to reach more people who may want help to stop smoking because there is a big link between smoking and oral health problems.”

The campaign is to raise awareness of Fresh Start and what it can offer the people of Derby. It recognizes that smokers are four times more likely to stop smoking with the help of a programme like Fresh Start, than by trying on their own.

“We know dentists are busy people, so we’ve made the referral process as simple as possible and the beauty of it is that anybody at the dental practice can make referrals to us. It could be the receptionist talking to somebody booking a dental appointment or a hygienist or dental nurse,” White said.

Yet Another Reason to Kick that Smoking Habit

The list of reasons why we shouldn’t smoke seems to increase with each passing month. Consistently, new data about the side effects, risks and problems smokers face bombards the media. Now, new evidence suggests that the number of cigarettes smoked in a day correlates to the severity of gum disease that person is likely to experience and the amount of bone tissue lost.

Smoking affects the tissues in the mouth by reducing its healing capacity, damaging the blood vessels and blood flow and compromising the immune system so that it is unable to fight infection. Tobacco damages all cells and tissues it comes in direct contact with and it has even been proven to damage things it does not directly contact.

Research suggests that people who smoke are more likely to show increased amounts of tooth decay than those who don’t. Staggeringly, this same principle holds true for children afflicted with secondhand smoking, due to bacteria flourishing when exposed to tobacco smoke.

Of course tobacco can be used in forms other than smoking. Chewing tobacco is quickly gaining popularity as a trend among teens. This extreme, direct exposure to tobacco has been linked to lip, tongue and mouth cancers and gum disease. Although sometimes seen has a safer alternative to smoking, researchers and dentists warn that the only safe alternative to tobacco use is no tobacco use.

Further emerging data consistently illustrates the reasons why we shouldn’t use tobacco products, it doesn’t look like that will be overturned any time soon.

Are You Oral Cancer aware

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month and the first step to preventing the cancer is knowing the symptoms so that you are able to detect it early.

Oral cancer is a particular risk for those in middle age, it is linked with heavy exposure to alcohol, sunlight and tobacco, according to health care professionals. For nonsmokers who are under the age of 50, the human papilloma virus (HPV) is becoming one of the strongest risk factors for Oral Cancer.

Common symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • Unspecified or sudden numbness in the oral or facial region.
  • A feeling that something is caught in the throat.
  • A sore on the lip or in the mouth that doesn’t heal within 14 days.
  • White or red patches or a mix of both on the gums, tongue, tonsils or lining of the mouth.
  • A lump or thickening on the lips, gums, or in the neck or mouth.
  • A hoarseness or change in voice.
  • Unusual bleeding, pain or numbness in the mouth or lips.
  • Trouble chewing, swallowing or moving the tongue or jaw.
  • Swelling of the jaw.
  • Persistent ear ache.
  • Loose teeth or dentures that no longer fit well.

Should you suspect that you any of these symptoms, you should contact your dentist as soon as possible. A prompt trip to the dentist could make the difference between life and death.

New Dental Technology Helps to Detect Oral Cancer

Dentists could play a vital role in the detection of oral cancer, says dentist Jonathan Glatt.

“Dentists are inherently very close to the mouth and are ideally positioned to help identify suspicious conditions of the head, neck, and oral cavity — such as red or white lesions in the mouth that don’t heal, as well as to monitor any risk factors a patient may have that could create changes at the molecular level,” he said.

Oral cancers refer to tumors involving the tongue, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, uvula, tonsils, base of the tongue, pharyngeal wall, gums, cheeks, mouth and lips. Accord to the National Cancer Institute over 36,000 new cases of oral cancer were diagnosed in the U.S. in 2010, and nearly 8,000 people died from it.

Oral cancer affects men twice as often as women and those of African descent more than any other racial group. Two known risk factors of oral cancer are smoking and drinking, and when the two are combined, the risk increases.

To combat the sometimes fatal oral cancer and detect it sooner, Glatt and his partner, Joseph Oleske, have come up a two-minute white light and Velscope exam that could save lives.

The procedure is as follows:

  1. A white light exam is done of the patient’s head, neck and oral cavity with the naked eye.
  2. A Velscope, a high-intensity light that works similar to fluorescence, is used to detect suspicious situations that might require more attention. When exposed to a Velscope’s light, normal cells get excited and fluoresce back, while cells that have molecular changes won’t, revealing dark shadows in the scope, Glatt said.

Of the procedure, Glatt said, “It’s safe and quick … [it] helps highlight areas which might not otherwise be seen by the naked eye.”

Dentists welcome new anti-smoking measures

Dental groups and other health professionals have praised the government’s latest anti-smoking measures, including selling cigarettes in plain packaging and forcing mall shops to keep smoking products out of view of customers.

The British Dental Association are just one of the members of the Smokefree Action Coalition, which has also welcomed new government targets to cut smoking in adults, young people and pregnant women.

Scientific consultant to the BDA, Professor Damien Walmsley, said: ‘Tobacco use has a significant negative impact on dental health, contributing to the increasing number of cases of oral cancers and conditions such as gum disease.

‘Tobacco is one of the factors that creates and perpetuates oral health inequalities in the UK. As a member of the Smokefree Action Coalition the BDA is committed to eradicating the harm that tobacco does to the nation’s health and we applaud this week’s announcement as a positive step forward.’

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