Stopping tobacco use is good for you and great for your business
Sun Herald - August 6, 2016
BY DR. KAREN M. CREWS
Beach View Family Dental Clinic
An alarming study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Virginia Commonwealth University reported that to live a long and healthy life, one should eat right, exercise, quit smoking - and move out of Mississippi.
The statement, as stinging as it sounds, is not to insult Mississippi but to point out that our residents have the lowest life expectancy of all 50 states.
It is well documented that a complex web of risk factors can affect one's health. However, two risk factors in particular impact the health of those who live and work here. Mississippi has the highest adult obesity rate and the sixth highest rate of smoking.
As a practicing dentist for the past 30 years, I have witnessed the damage that smoking and spit tobacco use does to the mouth and lips. Tobacco use causes gum disease and tooth loss as well as cancer of the lips, tongue, floor of the mouth and throat.
In fact, over 80 percent of oral cancer deaths are attributed to tobacco use. Using spit tobacco increases the risk for oral cancer four to six times, and smokers are seven times more likely to develop periodontal disease.
While smoking is most often associated with lung cancer and other lung diseases, it is also the leading cause of, among others, nasal, sinus, tracheal and laryngeal cancers.
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Karen M. Crews, professor emeritus of the University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Dentistry, is a practicing dentist at Beach View Family Dental Clinic in Gulfport.