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Fact Sheets

Are you ready to quit smoking?

Your dentist is ready to help.

Tobacco use is the chief avoidable cause of illness and death in North America and is a known cause of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and emphysema. In terms of oral health, tobacco use increases the risk of oral cancer, periodontitis (gum disease), tooth loss, cough, hairy tongue, tartar, bad breath, tooth stains, as well as delayed healing. Cancer related diseases include tongue, mouth, larynx, throat and lip.

Your dentist and the other members of the dental team are interested in your general health as well as your oral health. If you do not use tobacco, they will encourage you to remain tobacco free. If you use tobacco, they will strongly advise you to quit. And, when you are ready, they will assist you in stopping. Even a 2-3 minute consultation with your dentist can increase your chances of success by 15-20%. Three times greater than quitting on you own.

Five keys for successful quitting
About one-third of all Manitobans are current smokers. 79% say they want to quit and there has never been an easier time.

Get ready
Set a quit date. Change your surroundings. Get rid of all cigarettes and ashtrays in your home, car and office. Don't let people smoke in your home. Review your past attempts to quit, what worked and what didn't? Once you quit, don't smoke — not even a puff.

Get support
You have a better chance of quitting if you have lots of support. Tell family, friends, co-workers that you are going to quit. Ask them for their help and ask them not to smoke when they are with you. Tell health care providers that you plan to quit. Ask for help from your Dentist, Dental Hygienist, Physician, Pharmacist, Nurse, Psychologist, or a Smoking Cessation Councilor. Get individual, group or telephone counseling.

Learn new life skills and behavior
Try to distract yourself from urges to smoke by talking, walking and keeping busy. Change your routine when you first quit. Use a different route to work, tea instead of coffee, or a different cafe. Reduce your stress: exercise, take a hot bath, read a book. Plan something enjoyable to do every day. Drink a lot of water.

Get tobacco use cessation medication and use it correctly
Everyone who is trying to quit may benefit from using a medication [Bupropion SR (Zyban), nicotine gum, nicotine patch]. Medications will double your chances of quitting. Some of the medications may not be right for you. Ask your Dentist/Physician for advice. Follow all directions for use.

Be prepared for relapse or difficult situations
Most relapses occur within the first 3 months after quitting. Don't be discouraged if you start smoking again. Quit again. Avoid difficult situations such as, alcohol use or the presence of other smokers. Don't let temporary weight gain (generally less than 10 lbs) discourage you. Eat healthy and exercise to feel good about yourself. There are many ways to improve a bad mood or depression other than smoking. Talk to your dentist.

If you're ready to quit smoking, talk to your dentist. We care about you and your teeth.

This information courtesy of your Manitoba Dentist.