He’s at a swanky cocktail party. A gorgeous, sexy woman in a jaw-dropping slinky dress gives him the ‘come hither’ look. Curiosity (and temptation) win out and he heads over. He says hello. She waves a cigarette and says, “Got a light?” He pulls out his lighter, and obliges.
This may seem like a scene out of Mad Men, and has perhaps the brewings of a hot and heavy drama about to spew.
But while a bombshell with a cigarette can get your heart rate up, real life smoking is not quite as sexy. In fact, smoking-especially when combined with alcohol-is a major risk factor for Oral Cancer. This applies to men and women, and almost 90% of all oral cancer patients are smokers.
Let’s go from the outside in. Years of lighting up can put those not-so-attractive brown stains on your teeth, courtesy of tar and nicotine. Do it enough and you’re more at risk for irritated gums and periodontal disease, which can lead to tooth loss. Sexy? I think not.
In addition, prolonged smoking can alter your sense of taste (some say this can lead to over-eating in an attempt to achieve taste satisfaction). And I haven’t even mentioned the less-than-tasty smoker’s breath.
But when we’re talking about oral cancer, it’s more than just discolored teeth or bad breath. We are talking serious stuff. Often there is no pain, and it’s difficult to do a thorough self check.
So I stress to you-keep up with your dental check ups! When you come see us, we do a screening at every visit, ask if anything is bugging you, and if something suspicious pops up, we emphasize a follow-up visit, or have you consult our friendly neighborhood specialist to know once and for all. This goes double if you smoke.
Next time you think about lighting up, how about not? Now THAT’S hot.
Questions? Call us at (214) 522-3110 and let us help! Or share in the comments.
PS: April is Oral Cancer Awareness month.