The ‘ painful’ side effect of quitting smoking found in the mouth

Smoking and vaping: NHS shows difference between the two

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When it comes to leading a healthy life one of the key lifestyle changes recommended again and again is to give up smoking. Quitting can lower your risk of a vast number of medical conditions including heart attacks, lung cancer and strokes – just to name a few. However, some might notice a “sore” feeling on the inside of their mouths as a result.

Speaking exclusively with, GP and medical director of Cosmedics skin clinics – Doctor Ross Perry – shared more about the phenomenon of quitting smoking and mouth ulcers.

He said: “It is fairly common for smokers to develop mouth ulcers when ditching the cigarettes, this is normally very temporary but may last several weeks after quitting.

“Alongside mouth ulcers it is also common to get sore throats, coughs and colds.”

He explained why this could be the case.

“It is thought that ulcers are caused by the loss of antibacterial properties we get in the mouth when we smoke, and worse still getting mouth ulcers after stopping smoking can exacerbate the cravings of nicotine,” he said.

However, he said the benefits of giving up cigarettes greatly outweigh any unwanted side effects.

He said: “Some of the side effects associated with giving up smoking can also include: increased appetite, headaches, mood swings, anxiety, depression, insomnia, irritability, lack of concentration and frustration.

“Going cold turkey may initially make you feel worse, but these side effects do not last forever and in the long run it will be worthwhile.

“The benefits of quitting smoking for good far outweigh a short-lived ulcer.

“You can expect to have more energy, better smelling breath and general oral health, more money in your pocket, improvement of overall health and longevity, reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer and chronic pulmonary disease.”

Dr Perry provided some tips to help soothe ulcers.

He said: “Ulcers are never nice, despite often being small in appearance they can be extremely painful and sore.

“You can purchase a number of products over the counter to treat mouth ulcers which will help to not only soothe but also speed up the recovery.

“A home method is warm water with half a teaspoon of salt and a good gargle will also help to relieve painful symptoms of a mouth ulcer.”

It is also worth reducing your risk of developing an ulcer in the first place.

“To keep ulcers at bay, try and keep your mouth as clean as possible and use a high-quality toothbrush” Dr Perry advised.

“Drink plenty of water and eat a good balanced diet rich in vitamin A, C and E, think plenty of fruit and vegetables.

“Having a mouth ulcer is normally short lived but if they persist then it’s best to contact your GP.”

According to the Office for National Statistics, 14.1 percent of adults in the UK were classed as smokers in 201, which equates to around 6.9 million people.

If you are thinking of giving up, your GP or pharmacist can refer you to a support service or you can call the free smokefree national helpline.

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