The benefits of quitting smoking start immediately– no matter how long or how much a person has smoked.  We would like to emphasize how important it is for you to quit– not just for your oral health, but for your overall health as well!

According to QuitlineNC and the CDC, within 20 minutes after you smoke that last cigarette, your body begins a series of changes that continue for years.

  • 20 minutes after quitting, your heart rate drops.
  • 12 hours after quitting, carbon monoxide levels in your blood drops to normal.
  • Two weeks to three months after quitting, your heart attack risk begins to drop. Your lung function begins to improve.
  • One to nine months after quitting, your coughing and shortness of breath decrease.
  • One year after quitting, your added risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.
  • Five years after quitting, your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker’s.
  • Ten years after quitting, your lung cancer death rate is about half that of a smoker’s. Your risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas decreases.
  • Fifteen years after quitting, your risk of coronary heart disease is back to that of a nonsmoker’s.

According to the ADHA, smokers have a higher prevalence of moderate to severe periodontal disease and a higher prevalence and extent of attachment loss and gum recession than nonsmokers.  They also have a higher number of missing teeth and more hardened plaque (calculus) formation than nonsmokers.  Cigarette smoke contains over 4,800 chemicals … 69 of which are known to cause cancer.

Please consider quitting today!  Below are 3 resources that can help you get started.  Please ask any member of the BFD team if you need further assistance.

  1.  Talk with a National Cancer Institute smoking cessation counselor at 1-877-44U-QUIT (Monday-Friday 8am-8pm, English and Spanish).
  2. Visit for science-driven tools, information, and support that have been effective in helping smokers quit.
  3. Call the NC Tobacco Use Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free and confidential help, available in English and Spanish.  Whether you smoke, dip, or chew tobacco, counselors can customize a quit plan that will work for you!