October has been designated as the National Dental Hygiene Month (NDHM) and the American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA) has announced that it would be focusing on the relation between oral health, tobacco use, and heart disease during this whole time.
Using tobacco or tobacco products is the single biggest risk factor in the development of oral cancer. Smoking increases the chances of developing cancer up to four times more than not smoking. Tobacco is also implicated in stained teeth, bone loss, shrinking gums, and mouth sores besides reducing the acuity of the taste and smell. Tobacco has general consequences as well. Almost 50 percent of all coronary heart disease (CHD)-related deaths can be attributed to smoking. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that smoking caused more CHD than lung cancer!
"Following the positive reception we received last year from dental hygienists in response to tobacco cessation, we were inspired to again highlight the hazards of tobacco use," observed Katie L. Dawson, RDH, BS, ADHA president. "Dental hygienists are the frontline of defense against oral disease, and they have a responsibility to educate their patients about how tobacco use and heart disease are interrelated with oral health."