• May 12, 2014
  • Dr. Catherine-Anne Walsh

 Earlier this year a new coffee shop opened next to our building on Pitt Street. I love coffee as much as the next gal but what I found extra interesting about this particular establishment was the fact that it seemed to invite an extra dozen smokers to loiter in front of it. I’m not sure why. There is certainly no extra room on the path and no decrease in the amount of traffic on Pitt Street so I am concerned about the increase in tobacco exposure in the small area. Especially since May 31 is World No Tobacco Day.

     According to the Cancer Council of NSW smoking is still, “the leading risk factor for preventable cancer.”1 That’s sad to me. The Cancer Council is encouraging people to support someone they know to quit tobacco this May 31 and you can pledge at: http://www.icanquit.com.au/2

     The World Health Organization is calling for countries to reduce tobacco usage by raising taxes on tobacco products this year.3 The WHO states that an increase in tobacco prices deters youth from beginning to smoke and reduces the ability of lower-income earners to purchase tobacco, which reduces the rates of tobacco usage again.

      From our perspective here at the dental practice, both Dr Walsh and I would love all of our patients to break the habit and be tobacco-free. We also realize that sometimes this takes some practice but we are here for you when you are ready to try! In case you weren’t paying attention at your last visit to the office another reason to stop using tobacco is that it is associated with periodontal disease.4 

People who smoke have a higher likelihood of developing periodontal disease.4 This is the fancy term for gum disease, which is the leading cause of tooth loss in the world.5  Periodontal disease affects between 5 and 20% of the global population.5 So if up to 1 in 5 people are affected by a periodontal disease I think chucking the ciggies in the bin is an excellent place to begin on your path to being tobacco-free.

If you are a smoker and concerned about your oral health, it’s important to schedule regular dental checkups that may include imaging to detect any signs of periodontal disease. Imaging techniques such as X-rays or 3D imaging can help your dentist identify any bone loss or other damage caused by gum disease.

     I hope you enjoy World No Tobacco day by NOT lighting up on May 31. I would appreciate it if I pop next door for my cappuccino. 🙂

1)       http://www.cancercouncil.com.au/72016/uncategorized/world-no-tobacco-day-31st-may/?gclid=CMLPxJaB4b0CFYEVpQod_VoA6w

2)      http://www.icanquit.com.au/

3)      http://www.who.int/campaigns/no-tobacco-day/2014/event/en/

4)      http://www.perio.org/consumer/risk-factors

5)      https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/oral-health

Dr. Catherine-Anne Walsh
About The Author

Dr. Catherine-Anne Walsh

Catherine-Anne is a New Zealand-qualified dentist. She holds a Masters Degree in Public Health from Sydney University and she has a broad range of experiences from working in both the public and private sector.


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