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Many people in the United States smoke, or use smokeless tobacco in some form. There are many ads and commercials that talk about how harmful tobacco use is for your heart, lungs and throat. But did you know that tobacco can cause oral health problems? Some of the effects of tobacco use are stains on your teeth, gum disease, and oral cancer. Additionally, you may not be able to taste or smell very well, and it may take you longer to heal after you have had oral surgery.

Many people know someone who has “just quit” smoking, and have been told time and again that they need to do the same. But for many tobacco users, that is often easier said than done. However, it is not impossible.

The first thing to do is set a date for that last cigarette, last pinch or last plug. Second, make sure that you let family, friends and coworkers know that you have decided to quit using tobacco, and explain how they can help. Then, replace smoking with a new routine, like walking, exercising, or anything that can keep you distracted from a craving. Some people have turned to sugarless gum or candy. Others find that just holding something like a pen helps them to cope with some of the effects of quitting.

Next, figure out what kinds of things may trigger your desire for tobacco. Being around other tobacco users will definitely increase your craving. Stress will also trigger a desire for a smoke, along with alcohol. Find out what causes your cravings, and take steps to eliminate those things from your life.

Finally, realize that it is going is be tough. It may take a few times and there may be a few false starts. Know that ahead of time, and give yourself a reward if you are able to go a particular length of time without using tobacco.

Dr. Brock Barras at Barras Family Dentistry in Lafayette, Louisiana, understands the battle you are fighting and wants you to succeed. To make an appointment to talk with the doctor about the effects of tobacco on your teeth and possible treatment options, contact our office today at (337) 443-4912 to make an appointment.