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Quitting tobacco in time of coronavirus

The dental office, an ally in quitting tobacco in times of coronavirus.

Quitting tobacco in time of coronavirus

Growing evidence linking smoking to a worsening of COVID-19, as well as identifying it as a possible risk factor for SARS-Cov-2 infection, further reinforces measures to promote smoking cessation. And in this fight against tobacco every effort and every help can be transcendental, highlighting the importance that the dental office can have to facilitate the abandonment of this harmful habit among patients who go to the dentist.

If smoking was bad for your health before the coronavirus pandemic, it is now an even greater threat, quitting smoking is not going to be an easy task and realistically, it is hardly achievable in a first attempt. For that reason, on many occasions, it is necessary to consider seeking external help

Support from the dental office in the tobacco cessation.

If there have been previous attempts that have not worked or if the smoker feels unable to do so alone, it should be noted that the dental office is also an ideal setting in which cessation therapies can be easily applied, based on advice, support, and follow-up. Among our tasks or skills are those of educating in health and motivating in hygiene care (oral) and food to our patients on a continuous basis.

In addition to making a correct diagnosis and carrying out the conventional treatments that are necessary in each case, it is also a priority to control all those modifiable risk factors that are related to the appearance of oral problems and that worsen the quality of life of patients. Among them, smoking is one of the most frequent and serious due to its consequences.

Now, more than ever is the perfect time to stop smoking and adopt a healthier lifestyle, learning to eat better, exercise more, and manage stress better. The beneficial effects of smoking cessation have a positive impact not only on the consumer, but also on his or her closest relatives, and are multiple at a systemic level (i.e. throughout the body) and, of course, also at an oral level.

Among the pernicious effects at the oral cavity level, in addition to its relationship with the appearance of oral cancer, the tobacco habit favors the development and progression of the periodontitis, limits the response to periodontal treatment, and has serious consequences on implant therapy. This can lead, among other consequences, to tooth loss, important aesthetic sequelae, worse quality of life, and worsening of general health due to the systemic implications of periodontitis.

10 reasons

For all these reasons, it is considered that there are numerous arguments that support and endorse the role that the dental office can play in the elimination of tobacco and, in general, in the promotion of healthy living habits. They are summarised in ten fundamental aspects:

  1. Smoking is prevalent in 28% of the population, making it one of the main public health problems and the main cause of illness and avoidable death
  2. At the present time, and in the post-confinement era that is accompanied by an increase in the number of smokers as revealed by recent studies, the control and prevention of any risk factor that may increase the risk of contagion and/or aggravation of the person who ends up developing the COVID-19 are more strongly advised.
  3. The dental office is a place where thousands of people come daily across the country, many of whom consider themselves "healthy" but actually have risk factors that threaten both their oral and general health. It is, therefore, an ideal reference point for establishing preventive measures, health promotion and early diagnosis of certain disorders
  4. Tobacco has a negative influence on oral health, being a risk factor for the appearance of oral cancer, different lesions of the mucous membranes, periodontal and peri-implant diseases.
  5. Quitting smoking also helps to have a better response to periodontal and implant treatments, and avoids complications.
  6. The professionals that make up the dental team are used to and sufficiently trained to educate in hygiene and health habits.
  7. Usually there is a professional relationship with a certain degree of complicity and closeness between the different professionals who work in the field of dental consultation and the patient, which.
  8. There is growing clinical evidence linking periodontal diseases (such as periodontitis) with other disorders as frequent and important as diabetes, myocardial infarction, premature birth, or Alzheimer's disease, highlighting the impact of good oral health on the development or aggravation of systemic inflammatory diseases.
  9. Dental professionals are accelerating their training and awareness of their important role in both oral health promotion and general health.
  10. The objectives are to train all health professionals in health promotion and prevention of periodontal disease.

Tobacco-Free Day

In any person, whether healthy or sick, smoking is most likely the greatest risk to your health. It is known that maintaining this habit over time increases by more than 50% the probability of developing a serious illness and dying prematurely, considerably increasing the risk of the appearance of different types of cancer, cardiovascular and cardiorespiratory diseases, pulmonary diseases, hypertension... Tobacco consumption kills almost 6 million people each year, a figure that is expected to rise to more than 8 million deaths per year by 2030 if measures to counteract it are not intensified.

On 31 May each year, the World Health Organization (WHO) and its global partners celebrate World No Tobacco Day, with the aim of informing and raising awareness of the harmful and deadly effects of tobacco use and passive exposure to tobacco smoke. The aim is to discourage the use of tobacco in all its forms. This year's campaign revolves around the idea of protecting young people from the manipulation of the industry and preventing them from consuming tobacco and nicotine.