Help Your Patients Kick Their Butts on World No Tobacco Day

Dentistry Today


Tobacco use contributes to heart disease, respiratory disease, and lung cancer, and it is the leading cause of preventable death in the world with more than 4.9 million deaths each year, according to the FDI World Dental Federation, which is calling on dental professionals to take part in the World Health Organization’s World No Tobacco Day on May 31. 

The annual event is an opportunity to raise awareness about the harmful and deadly effects of tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure as well as to discourage tobacco use in every form. It also is a chance for dental professionals to inform their patients about tobacco’s harmful effects on oral health, which include teeth staining, bad breath, premature gum loss, gum disease, oral cancer, and loss of the ability to taste and smell.

Additionally, FDI reports, oral diseases and other noncommunicable diseases share modifiable risk factors, including tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, and diets high in sugar. Curbing tobacco use not only supports positive oral health outcomes, FDI says, it also strengthens overall health. Plus, FDI says that oral health professionals are uniquely positioned to help patients reduce or quit their tobacco consumption: 

  • They are equipped to identify and treat the adverse effects of tobacco on the oropharyngeal region.
  • They often treat children and their caregivers, which provides opportunities to raise awareness about the dangers of tobacco.
  • They often treat pregnant women and can teach them that using tobacco during pregnancy increases the risk of health problems for developing babies.
  • They can contribute to a multidisciplinary approach to help their patients, such as by being the first to refer their patients to a tobacco cessation program.
  • They can motivate their patients who are smokers to quit by showing them the harmful effects of tobacco on the mouth.

FDI further notes that the global health community agrees that every day should be World No Tobacco Day. By remaining mindful of the harms of tobacco use on oral health and overall health, FDI says, patients and practitioners can work together to help reduce rates of tobacco use worldwide.

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