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Start Again in 2010 - Smokers - Effects on the Teeth and Skin Week 5

Thursday, 11 February 2010

The week of the 11th of Jan we started our "Start Again in 2010". We have chosen two groups of people to focus on. We have taken 3 Mum's who are hoping to shift some of their baby weight and we are taking 3 smokers who have tried everything to stop and really want to. We will follow them for 10 weeks and join them on their journey as they try to achieve the goals they have set for themselves. With the help of a panel of experts we hope to make this happen for them.

Why is it Relevant Today?
This is beginning of week 5 (24 days smoke free) and all our smokers are doing great. Today we want to educate them and our viewers to the damage that smoking can do to your skin and teeth. In Studio we are joined by Dermatologist Dr, Rosemary Coleman and Dentist Dr Danielle Meagher.

Who Is The Guest?

. Dermatologist Dr. Rosemary Coleman - Consultant Dermatologist, Blackrock Clinic and Mt Carmel Hospital. Qualified from Trinity College Dublin in 1987 and commenced her career in Dermatology in 1990 training in Cambridge, London and Pittsburgh.

. Dr Danielle Meagher BDentSc Grad Dip Aeshetic Medicine Clinical Director of Derma Anti-Ageing Department DermaDental

Derma Dental specialises in advanced aesthetic skin treatments like Laser Teeth Whitening & Anti Wrinkle Injections for further information on the work that Danielle please contact 01 667 8000 or

. Billy (William) Salinger (46) Dublin - He used to smoke about 50/60 a day. Billy has been in and out of hospital with lung problems. He has chronic Asthma. He is paired up with Pharmacist Kathy Maher.

TO DATE: He is doing very well, still misses the act of holding the cigarette but can't believe sometimes that he is off them. He has noticed his breathing is so much better and he does not use his inhalers as much and he is delighted, he has noticed he looks a lot healthier as well.

. Veronica O'Donnell (48) Co. Tipperary - Veronica around 25 a day and more when she is out. She is paired up with EFT Practitioner Norah Sweetman.

TO DATE: She is so happy and does not miss smoking her cravings are nearly all gone and as Billy said sometimes she can't believe that she does not smoke anymore. The EFT has really helped her and she feels better all over. She has noticed a huge difference in her hair and skin looking better.

. Rosie Carroll (45) Co. Roscommon - She smokes between 25 to 30 a day and is paired up with Hypnotist Joe Duffy. (Can't make the studio so she will be on the phone 086 375 5005 / 071 966 2039 )

TO DATE: Like Veronica she has noticed a huge difference in her hair and her skin and her general health , sometimes she is amazed that she is off the smokes and did not do it before, but the support from everyone has been amazing.

Information from Dr. Rosemary Coleman:

How bad is smoking for your skin?
Smoking is one of the main causes of extrinsic ageing. Smoking causes a destruction of collagen and elastin fibers in the dermis of the skin and depletes moisture from our skin causing a dull complexion. Smoking creates free radicals in our bodies and deprives us of Vitamin C, which is a powerful anti-ageing ingredient. After sun exposure, smoking is probably the single worst contributor to premature aging of the skin.

Here are a few things that smoking does to the skin:
. smoking restricts blood flow through the capillaries (tiny veins near the skins surface) preventing oxygen and nutrients getting to the skin
. smoking reduces the body's store of vitamin A which provides protection from skin damage
. smoking gets in the way of absorption of vitamin C - a vital antioxidant for skin protection and health

What are free radicals?
Free radicals are created as an essential part of life when food is oxidized to create energy. During the process, free radicals are produced that are highly charged oxygen molecules and are harmful to the skin and the body in general. They are usually neutralized by antioxidants like vitamins C, E, etc The most common causes of free radicals are excess sun, smoking, stress and obesity.

What does smoking actually do to the skin? Is it true is causes wrinkles?
It blocks the small blood vessels to the skin thus starving it of oxygen and nutrients. Produces enzymes called metallo proteinoxidases (MMPs for short) which break down collagen and elastin (thus producing wrinkles) and reduces vitamin A and C in the skin. Repetitive movements cause physical lines around the mouth and eyes (squinting to keep smoke out of the eyes). Results in dull pale/yellowish, sagging, wrinkled skin - inappropriate to the age of the patient.

Is it just the face or are other parts of the body affected directly from smoking? Every bit of the body! A 2007 study carried out by the University of Michigan Health System found that smoking is associated with increased wrinkling and skin damage on many parts of the body - not just the face. Inner arms, neck and décolleté are likely to show wrinkling and sagging as a result of accelerated skin aging from smoking.

What if you only smoke a few cigarettes a week would you still see these signs?
Good question. Hard to answer. Some people get away with blue murder and smoke very heavily with minimal effects and others show the signs at a very low dose. I would expect there is a genetic susceptibility component and one can't directly correlate the degree of damage with number of cigarettes smoked.

Is there anything you can do to reverse the effects?
The simple answer is that you won't be able to completely reverse the damage that smoking has done but with a good diet, skin supplements and great anti aging skin care you can do a lot to get your youthful skin back.

The difference is usually obvious within 2 weeks of stopping smoking, with an increased radiance. Individual problems such as specific wrinkles can be addressed with lasers or fillers. Application of creams containing idebenone (related to coenzyme q10) is reported to help reduce the free radicals and thus the damage. Use of creams containing retinoids or a course of glycolic peels to stimulate the skin to grow faster will help.

Have you seen many cases of skin badly damaged due to smoking?
Yes. I can usually tell a smoker a mile away.

What piece of advice would you have for someone who is even thinking about taking up smoking or trying to quit?
If you have any interest in preserving your skin and appearance, don't touch them or stop ASAP. Better late than never.

Information from Dr Danielle Meagher:

What damage is cased by smoking to the (a) teeth and (b) gums?
(a)Recent studies have shown that tobacco use may be one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of periodontal (gum) disease. In addition, following periodontal treatment or any type of oral surgery, the chemicals in tobacco can slow down the healing process and make the treatment results less predictable. (b)Teeth become stained and may not be retained in the mouth as increased risk of gum disease/loss of teeth with smokers.

How does smoking increase your risk for periodontal (gum) disease?
As a smoker, you are more likely than nonsmokers to have the following problems:
. Calculus - plaque that hardens on your teeth and can only be removed during a professional cleaning
. Deep pockets between your teeth and gums
. Loss of the bone and tissue that support your teeth

Is gum disease reversible?
Yes, but only to a point. The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. At this stage the gums can become red and swollen. They may also bleed easily. This is quite a painless period, which may explain why people tend to ignore it, or not even notice they have it. Gum disease, at this stage, can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing.

The more advanced stage is known as periodontitis. It is at this stage that the bones and gums can become very damaged. The teeth may become loose and eventually fall out or they may have to be removed by your dentist.

What signs should I look out for?
If you think you have gum disease, it is essential that you visit your dentist. The signs you need to look for are:
. Red, swollen or tender gums.
. Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth.
. Gums that appear to have pulled away from the teeth.
. Loose teeth.
. A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite.
. Pus between your teeth and gums.

How do I prevent gum disease?
Good dental hygiene is essential in order to prevent gum disease. Make sure you brush your teeth properly twice a day with a toothbrush that is in good condition.
Ensure you clean in between your teeth every day. Flossing will remove bacteria and food particles from the areas a toothbrush can't reach. Early gum disease can often be reversed by proper brushing and flossing.

It is essential to visit your dentist regularly? What should healthy gums look like?
Pink stippled, they should not bleed on brushing.

Is it possible to reverse the damage that is done to you teeth and gums by smoking?
Stained teeth can be whitened to reverse the staining and may need to be professionally whitened to get up the required shade. Gums you cannot do anything to reverse long term periodontitis which is name for gum disease. If there is gingivitis present you can reverse this but you can not reverse long term gum disease, please note that long term gum disease also has bone loss......that bone loss does not grow back??? The reduction in bone density and quality is what causes teeth to be loose and wobbly and eventually fall out.

If there is anything else you would like to add please do. Regarding the face there is so much you can do to reverse the signs of ageing. This is what I do daily in my own practice; reverse signs of ageing due to either smoking or also commonly sun damage. Botox around the eyes especially crows feet, Facial fillers such as Juvederm around the lips and mouth. Chemical Peel for the skin eg EASY TCA 14% course of 1 every week for 4 weeks. Rehydrate the skin by using cosmedicoceutical skin products such as skin ceuticals and any prescription personalised skin care regime.