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Dentists could play a pivotal role in curbing tobacco use.

A recent study was conducted regarding how much dentists know about their patients’ tobacco use and what they do to prevent it.

The results showed that 90 percent of dental providers stated that they asked their patients about their tobacco use on a regular basis. The numbers also stated that 76 percent counsel their patients while 45 percent offer tobacco cessation assistance.

Looking further into the numbers, when a practice has at least one hygienist, cessation assistance was often associated with the practice. Other factors that resulted in cessation assistance were (1) using a chart system that includes a tobacco question, (2) having a dentist who received some sort of tobacco dependence training and (3) having a positive attitude about treating tobacco use.

The study also concluded that providers who did not offer assistance but would alter their practice patterns if they were reimbursed for the changes were more likely to be in a group practice and/or treating Medicaid patients.