Smoking leads to bad breath, stained teeth, loss of taste and smell, canker sores, dental implant failures, and oral cancer—all issues that dental hygienists see every day. The American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) and the Centers of Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) are encouraging dental hygienists to discuss these risks with their patients as part of its Tips from Former Smokers campaign.
“We are honored that the CDC invited ADHA to partner on their 2018 Tips campaign,” said ADHA chief executive officer Ann Battrell, MSDH. “Dental hygienists see the direct impact of smoking and can play a key role in educating patients and caregivers about tobacco use.”
Tobacco smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, the groups report. In addition to the risks outlined above, tobacco also has been implicated in the gum recession, bone loss, and tooth loss associated with periodontal disease. Smoking also weakens the immune system, which makes it harder to fight off a gum infection. Smokers are twice as likely as nonsmokers to have gun disease as well.
The Tips campaign will include public service announcements featuring real former smokers talking about how smoking has impacted their lives and how smoking-related illnesses have forever changed the lives of everyday people. The ADHA also will work with the CDC to share specific materials that its members can use with their patients. The CDC has established a webpage for dental professionals as well.
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