Make Over Your Smile: Quit Smoking

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If you're a smoker, the best thing you can do for your smile is -- surprise -- quit.

People who smoke are four times more likely than nonsmokers to have gum disease, according to a study in the Journal of Periodontology.

Even using smokeless tobacco increases a person's risk for oral cancers, including lip, tongue, cheeks, and gums. In short, all tobacco carries great risk, whether it is chewed, smoked or inhaled.

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The American Cancer Society estimates that 90 percent of people with oral cancer have used tobacco in some form.

The risk of oral cancer is six times higher among smokers than non-smokers. Your individual risk of oral cancer depends on how long you've been using tobacco -- the longer you use it, the greater your risk.

On a smaller scale, tobacco products contribute to tooth decay, tooth discoloration, stains on tongue and bad breath, or halitosis.

According to a Tufts University study, if you start smoking at age 18 and smoke one pack per day, you could lose four to five teeth by the time you are 35 years old.

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More Tips to Prevent Bad Breath:

1. Drink plenty of water.

2. Maintain good oral hygiene.

This includes flossing. Toothbrushes cannot remove bacteria that gets trapped under your gums. Also, be sure to get your teeth cleaned by a dentist twice a year.

3. Treat existing oral diseases.

4. Clean your tongue while brushing your teeth.

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Good Dental Hygiene Habits

5. Use natural antibiotics.

6. Switch from coffee to tea.

7. Chew sugarless gum.

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Make Over Your Smile

From mouthwash to tongue scrapers and halimeters, there are many items on the market today meant to control bad breath. CLICK HERE for an overview of these products.

Dentists say to brush and floss daily, but unless you floss your teeth the right way, you may not be doing any good. CLICK HERE for tips on the best way to floss.

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