For better oral and overall health, CDA urges tobacco users to quit the habit
The recent decision by CVS Caremark to discontinue the sale of tobacco products is to be applauded. For decades, the California Dental Association and other health organizations have been warning tobacco users of the dangers of these products and urging them to kick the habit.
In addition to CVS’s vow to eliminate tobacco products from its shelves, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has launched a new anti-tobacco campaign aimed to prevent tobacco use among teens and the U.S. Surgeon General recently updated an oral health report on the consequences of smoking. In the report, the Surgeon General calls for “dramatic action” to reduce tobacco use and expands the list of illnesses “causally associated” with active smoking to include orofacial clefts in infants.
“CDA is pleased to see these recent anti-tobacco efforts because we know how damaging tobacco products are to both oral and overall health,” said James Stephens, DDS, president of CDA. “Hopefully, these actions will help highlight the dangers of tobacco use and help reduce the number of users in the U.S.”
According to the FDA’s new campaign, tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease, disability and death in the United States, responsible for more than 480,000 deaths each year.
All forms of tobacco contain high concentrations of cancer-causing agents, and these substances subject users to increased cancer risk not only of the oral cavity, but also the pharynx, larynx and esophagus. Other traits of long-term tobacco users include stained teeth, halitosis, or bad breath, gum disease and a dulled sense of taste and smell.
“Living a tobacco-free life is the only way to help reduce the risk of these cancers and other tobacco-related health problems,” said Stephens.
If you are a tobacco user, or have been in the past, be on the lookout for early signs of oral cancer, including a sore that does not heal, a lump or white patch, a prolonged sore throat, difficulty chewing or restricted movement of the tongue or jaw.
“Pain is rarely an early symptom of oral cancer,” said Stephens. “So it’s vital that all tobacco users see a dentist for regular dental checkups, which include oral cancer screenings.”
For better oral and overall health, and to help reduce the risk of oral cancer, eliminate all tobacco use, brush with a fluoride toothpaste for two minutes, twice a day, floss regularly, avoid sugary drinks and visit a dentist for regular checkups.
For more information, oral health resources and help finding a CDA dentist, visit www.cda-adc.ca.
About the California Dental Association
The California Dental Association is the non-profit organization representing organized dentistry in California. Founded in 1870, CDA is committed to the success of our members in service to their patients and the public. CDA also contributes to the oral health of Californians through various comprehensive programs and advocacy. CDA’s membership consists of more than 25,000 dentists, making it the largest constituent of the American Dental Association.