A new survey of 2,000 smokers has found that less than one in two (44%) smokers in the UK are worried about the negative effects of smoking on their teeth, and only one in four (27%) are concerned about the effects of smoking on their gums.
The survey, carried out by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), found women smokers tend to be more concerned with the effects of smoking on their teeth, with just under half (49%) listing their teeth as a concern, compared to just 38% of men.
Smokers in the 18-24 year age group are the most concerned about the effects of smoking on their oral health.
With smokers risking damaging their oral health due to their habit, the BHF is encouraging dentists to use next year’s No Smoking Day as an opportunity to raise awareness and boost participation among patients by promoting quit aids in their practice and local support services available in their area.
Dr Mike Knapton, BHF associate medical director, said: ‘Action by dental teams to reduce tobacco use will help to improve dental treatment outcomes, promote oral and general health, and ultimately save lives.
‘Dentists have always played a big role in raising awareness of No Smoking Day and the dangers of smoking.
‘Dental clinics should consider promoting the event in their offices in the weeks leading up to No Smoking Day.
‘Engaging your patients on the subject might help them take the first step towards a smoke-free life.
‘Dental practices and dentists who want to get involved can visit NoSmokingDay.org.uk to order their No Smoking Day organiser pack.’
Smokers are seven to 10 times more likely to suffer from oral cancer than individuals who have never smoked (Warnakulasuriya, Sutherland and Scully, 2005).
The British Heart Foundation is calling on all smokers to attempt to quit on next year’s No Smoking Day 2015, held on 11 March.
The theme will be ‘Proud to be a Quitter’, which showcases the inspirational stories of ex-smokers to highlight the life-changing benefits of quitting.
Visit nosmokingday.org.uk to order or download the free No Smoking Day organiser pack, which includes posters, leaflets and a handbook.
You can also join the conversation on twitter using the hashtag #NoSmokingDay.
Warnakulasuriya KA Sutherland G and Scully C (2005) Tobacco, oral cancer and treatment dependence. Oral Oncol, 41: 244-260