Dentists Do Little to Help Patients Quit Smoking, Study

According to a new study, healthcare professionals aren’t doing enough to stop people from smoking, and dentists are the worst.

Dentists Missed Opportunities to Help

According to the study, released by the Ohio State University College of Public Health in Columbus, doctors, dentists, and others aren’t talking enough to their patients about the risks of smoking and the need to quit, as well as how patients can quit.

The survey looked at study data from 2010 about how many patients received advice for how to quit from their doctor, dentist or other other healthcare professional.

The survey asked people who had seen a doctor or dentist about whether they had received advice about how to quit, and found that only 50.7% of people who had seen a doctor had been told how to quit, while 11.8% of those who saw a dentist had been counseled to quit.

Not Enough Time, Training, or Confidence

smoke-that-cigaretteThe release also looked at potential explanations for why dentists fared so badly in counseling patients. Stanton Glantz of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)–who was not part of the study–said, “Dental schools and other professional schools are not doing enough to teach how to deal with the issue. It’s just a continuous slog to try to get time in the curriculum.”

Colleague Dr. Benjamin Chaffee at the UCSF School of Dentistry, added “The majority of dentists will tell you they think it’s an important part of their role, but lower percentage will tell you they feel confident they know what to say and how to say it.”

Why and How to Quit

From a dentist’s perspective, there are many good reasons to quit smoking. Not only does it stain teeth, but it can lead to increased risk of gum disease. It increases the risk of tooth loss and makes it more likely that dental implants will fail.

If you want to quit smoking, it’s best to take a multifaceted approach to quitting. It’s best not to go it alone. If you try to quit on your own, your likelihood of success is only 4 to 7%. If you use smoking cessation drugs, your success rate increases to 25%. With counseling, success rates are even higher.

And, of course, if you are looking to undo the damage that smoking has wrought on your smile, cosmetic dentistry can help. Please call 310-275-5325 today for an appointment with a Beverly Hills cosmetic dentist at Ravon Knopf to learn more.

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