A recent study published in Community Dental Health reveals that Finnish dentists find smoking cessation important but seldom provide concrete withdrawal guidance. It is well known that smoking has a major negative influence on oral health. As two thirds of Finns visit a dentist at least once a year, dental offices are the ideal place for addressing smoking habits and providing smoking cessation support.
MedEngine participated in the study, which investigated dentists’ smoking cessation related attitudes, consultation practices, and familiarity with the local treatment guideline on smoking cessation. Among 456 respondents, only 6% reported daily or occasional smoking, which is much less than in the general population (17% of Finns are daily smokers).
Notably, the study showed that only one third of the dentists actively utilized the local treatment guideline on smoking cessation. As expected, adherence to the guideline was associated with higher rates of smoking cessation activities and success with them. Overall, the activity of dentists was significantly lower when compared to that of physicians.
Based on the results, lack of time and education were the major challenges restricting smoking cessation support among dentists.
“More education on smoking cessation tools will be needed to overcome these restrictions. This way, we can support dentists in taking a more active role in providing smoking cessation support for their patients”, states study researcher Anna Maria Heikkinen, DDS, PhD, Periodontist.
The study was conducted by the Finnish Dental Association, the team of health promotion, University of Helsinki, MedEngine Oy and Pfizer Oy.
Reference: Grönholm A, Litkey D, Jokelainen J, Keto J, Pöyry M, Linden K, Heikkinen AM. Finnish dentists find smoking cessation important but seldom offer practical support for their patients. Community Dent Health.