Now that the dental community recognises the harmful effects of tobacco smoking on oral health, are dentists fulfilling their role in helping patients quit smoking? Among the most prevalent smoking-related illnesses are mouth cancer and periodontal diseases. Smoking also reduces the effectiveness of several oral treatments, particularly dental implants.
In a campaign branded as “Health Professionals against Tobacco,” the World Health Organization underlines the role of health professionals, including dentists, in tobacco control. In addition to providing medical and professional services, the WHO urges dentists to take a proactive role in preventing and controlling the tobacco epidemic.
Dentists Should Not Smoke
If a physician is overweight and warns an overweight patient of the risks of developing diabetes, the patient will not be too inclined to accept the advice. The same effect applies to dentists who smoke. Dentists should maintain a healthy image, especially in front of their patients. They will not be able to make a strong argument if they don’t.
Dentists Should Educate Patients
Dental professionals should provide patients with information and resources outlining the ill effects of cigarette smoking. During visits, they should go out of their way to convince patients to quit smoking. Dentists are also free to get involved and support patients who are trying to quit.
They should put up informational materials in their dental practice and make sure that patients get to see and read them. All Smile Dental Care notes cigarette smoking as an epidemic, which makes it a public health concern that affects non-smokers as well.
Dentists Should Promote Tobacco-Free Lifestyles
According to the CDC, dentists should promote tobacco-free lifestyles by supporting or taking part in community-wide and nationwide campaigns against tobacco. People trust the advice and information health professionals give, so it’s important to be really proactive and genuine.
In addition to spreading awareness, dentists should inspire their patients, suggest tips and alternatives and refer them to “quit help” hotlines and institutions. Caring goes a long way. One small act of compassion can send ripples through the community.