It’s time to kick your (cigarette) butts! National Non-Smoking Week is upon us.

If you go for a walk outside, you will probably pass a smoker along the way.  Although the number of smokers appears to be declining as more and more education and prevention strategies are available, it is still a major health issue in today’s society.  The health consequences for smoking are serious and significant.  There are more than 440,000 deaths a year related to smoking and an additional 50,000 deaths from second hand smoke.  Health concerns resulting from smoking are not only linked obviously to your lungs but also; to your heart, your reproductive organs, your blood (eg.  leukemia), your eyes (eg. cataracts), just to name a few examples.  Along with the usual health problems associated with smoking (allergies, asthma, infections), second hand smoke from friends or family members particularly affects children.  Infants and children are at higher risk for sudden infant death syndrome and early childhood caries when they are exposed to the smoke of others. Don’t forget also,  third hand smoke, which is when residual toxins from the cigarettes are deposited on surfaces throughout the homes even after the cigarette is no longer lit.  The toxins lingers in the air for months and the well being of children who play in these contaminated areas are jeopardized.

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The Children’s Oral Care Centre strongly supports the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s  recommendations for smoking  prevention.   We take interests in regular screening for tobacco use, prevention strategies for children and adolescents and treating any tobacco dependency within this population because shocking statistics tells us that, today 20% of high school students use tobacco (including smokeless forms) and 90% of adult smokers began before the age of 19.  Every day 3,600 teenagers between the ages of 12-17 will try smoking and of those 1,100 will become regular users.  As pediatric dentists, we are concerned about the large number of adolescent smokers who expose themselves to negative oral health outcomes, including  smell and taste reductions, staining of teeth, leukoplakia, coated tongue, oral cancer and periodontitis.

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One effective way to spread the word “no” to tobacco in the young generation is through technology! QuitNow is a province wide quit smoking resource that provide services and scientifically-proven support for smoking cessation http://www.quitnow.ca/.   The BC Lung Association’s QuitNow program can also be found on your phone so you can have access to this support system at any time anywhere! You can even sign up for text messaging support, participate in monthly contests and join their facebook group to interact with and share stories with others who are trying to quit themselves.  Another great resource for quitting is your pharmacist, they are usually within close distance and you don’t need an appointment to speak with them for advice and support with smoking cessation.

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There is no better time than now to look into smoking cessation for you and those you care about, like your teenage sons or daughters.  Share with them these resources and show them your support!

 

Copyright 2013 The Children’s Oral Care Centre

What is your New Year’s resolution? How about make it a priority for you and your child to go to see the dentist?

Have been dragging your feet in booking an appointment for you and your child’s dental appointment? Many people are like you who may not be very fond of the dentist.  Dental phobia is a prevalent problem and the cause of this fear is thought to be multifactorial, like people’s emotions and their past experiences.  Research has found that dental anxiety in a family member can play a role in a child’s dental experience.  Children who have childhood onset dental anxiety often have  had a mother, father or sibling may also be anxious about dental treatment.  Mild fear and anxiety are expected and consistent with normal development of a young child.  However, this anxiety can interfere with a child’s willingness to pursue necessary treatment or even just visiting the dentist all together.  It can become an overwhelming  concern that the child’s daily functions, like eating and sleeping are impaired.  Research has also found that the more anxious the patient is the more pain he can experience during treatment and his oral health satisfaction is lower.  Those with dental fear usually require more time and more medicine to accomplish dental procedures than those who are relaxed.  This is why we, as a dental team, spend a lot of emphasis on taming your child’s worry dragon.

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In order to ease a child’s dental fear, communication skills are imperative.  It is important to assist a child to understand his phobia and help reduce the anxiety he experiences.  Providing dental information or details in a way that are understandable but not intimidating to a child is important so that we can ease any unnecessary negative anticipation.  Positive reinforcement is also very effective whether it be congratulating them for completing a treatment or holding their hand through a procedure they are scared of having done. There are many other behavioral techniques we can also use.   Perceived control, which gives the child some control over the situation (eg. would you like to have the top teeth cleaned first or the bottom cleaned first?) or  Tell-show-do:  when the child can hear and see what will be done before it is actually done on them are just a few examples.  These various techniques will help children overcome their fears and ultimately lead to more efficient and successful treatment and a better overall dental health.

If you have the will, we always have a way for you.  It’s a new beginning of the year – let’s make it a New Year’s Resolution to stop procrastinating and go to the dentist.  Conquering your own reluctance to the dentist not only improves your own oral health but also enables your child to have positive attitudes for their oral  health as they grow up!

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Copyright 2013 The Children’s Oral Care Centre