The Great American Smokeout is hosted on the third Thursday of every November. Its purpose is to help smokers set a day to work towards a smoke-free life. As you probably know, quitting smoking can help you get healthier, but it can also protect your children’s health, too. The truth is, those who live with smokers, including children, are at risk for similar health concerns as the actual smoker. To help celebrate the Great American Smokeout and raise awareness of the importance of quitting, our dental office in Austin is sharing some ways smoking can put others living with you at risk, even if they aren’t smokers themselves.
Secondhand Smoke Linked to Cavities
You may already be aware of the oral health complications that tend to affect smokers, such as bad breath and an increased risk of gum disease. But one thing you may not know is that secondhand smoke can also carry oral health risks. A study conducted by the American Dental Association (ADA) showed a potential link between secondhand smoke and the prevalence of cavities in children’s baby teeth. But that’s not all. There are several reasons smokers should avoid lighting up when children are around.
Children of Smokers are at Risk
An increased risk of developing more cavities is certainly something that worries your Austin dentist. However, children of smokers have even more risks that go beyond oral health alone. In fact, children of smokers tend to get more ear infections, more colds that last longer, and are at greater risk of bronchitis than children of non-smokers. The risks of secondhand smoke can even go beyond childhood if kids are continuously exposed to it. Constant exposure to secondhand smoke can lead to underdeveloped lungs and even heart disease and lung cancer. Unfortunately, the risks don’t end there. Children of smokers are nearly 4 times more likely to start smoking than those with non-smoking parents. Once someone starts the habit, it’s more likely that they themselves will become addicted and their risk of serious health problems, such as cancer and heart disease, will drastically increase.
Smoking During Pregnancy
Both smoking while pregnant and smoking around a pregnant woman carry risks to the unborn baby. Smoking or being exposed to secondhand smoke during pregnancy can cause serious concerns including:
- Low birth weight and perhaps an unhealthy baby
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Premature birth
Even though our Austin dental office supports the Great American Smokeout, we aren’t here to lecture or judge anyone for smoking. Instead, we’re here to support our community in their journey to quit — which is exactly the mission behind the Great American Smokeout. Quitting smoking can not only help you live a longer, healthier life, it can also help protect your children.
If you’re trying to quit smoking, there are various resources you can use both online and in person. Try a few different things to find what’s best for you and always remember to never quit trying to quit.