How your dental practitioner can help you quit smoking
Dental practitioners are close to the root of the problem
Everyone is well informed about the adverse effects of smoking on general health and well-being, but not everyone is aware of gums, teeth, and the mouth.
The dentist and hygienist can help their patients stop smoking because they can notice these effects even in the cause of a single treatment.
With long term smoking, the teeth become stained with tar and nicotine, which cause a thick brown stain layer on the teeth. Unfortunately, the stain cannot be removed by normal teeth brushing.
Bad breath ( the medical name is halitosis) is caused by tar and nicotine build-up on the teeth and soft tissues in the mouth.
Smokers are prone to gum disease, leading to gum recession, bone loss and teeth can eventually come loose with the risk of falling out.
There is a high risk of dental implant failure because persistent smoking affects the healing of the bone and gum around the implant.
Smokers have a higher risk of developing mouth cancer, and the risk increases if they smoke and drink alcohol.
We now begin to see why dental practitioners can help you stop smoking as their modus operandi is very much in the problem’s location; mouth.
There is a justifiable case for dental professionals to help people to quit smoking.
Why you need to quit smoking
One of the key medical recommendations regarding keeping the mouth healthy is maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including eating well, not smoking and limiting alcohol and sugar intake. Obviously, wrong lifestyle choices can be detrimental for your whole body, including teeth, gums and mouth.
It is a “no brainer” ( i.e. not worth thinking about), and most smokers will agree that stopping smoking is the best thing that can happen to them. Doing so lowers the possibility of contracting lung cancer, mouth cancer, gum and other related diseases.
Many people, including smokers, would normally attend dental appointments regularly; therefore, dental professionals could motivate people to stop smoking cigarettes by describing the inherent health risks of continuing and the immense health benefits of quitting.
The kinds of oral health care providers involved in the care of teeth, gums, and mouth have many responsibilities and competencies. These responsibilities include the diagnosis, treatment, care, and management of your overall oral health.
These professionals have varying certifications and capabilities with some overlaps.
We can enumerate ten professionals working with a dental practitioner can help you quit smoking.
Oral and Maxillofacial Radiologist
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
Pediatric Dentist or Pedodontist
Indeed, the discerning smoker is spoilt for choice if they are willing and able to consider the opportunity that the dental profession’s motivational intervention brings to the battle against nicotine addiction.
Why did they need to show that dental practitioner can help you stop smoking?
The reason for doing this Cochrane review is said to be two-fold
It is useful to determine if dental professionals could help people stop using nicotine by offering them motivational intervention and assistant. Knowing if the support from dental professionals produced any unwanted effects.
How the study was conducted.
We searched for studies that tested whether dental professionals’ advice and support helped people stop smoking, chewing or sniffing tobacco.
We looked randomly at studies in which the participants are placed into two groups, namely those that received support to stop smoking and those that didn’t
This type of research usually gives reliable evidence about the effects of treatments offered.
The date of the research papers we looked at included all studies published up to February 2020.
What the study found
We found that 20 of the studies involved 14,897 people who smoke, chew nicotine or sniff tobacco regularly.
Thirteen studies took place in the USA, two studies in the UK and Sweden, and one study in Japan, Malasia and India.
Sixteen of the studies were in dental clinics, and the rest were conducted in the learning institutions.
All the studies used behavioural programmes to help people stop using tobacco; they aimed to boost motivation and offer cessation advice. Four studies also included offering participants nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or e‐cigarettes and a behavioural programme.
Sources of Funding for the researchers
Government agencies or universities funded nineteen studies; one study did not receive any funding.
For each type of behavioural programme reviewed, the studies recorded the number of people who ceased smoking or stopped using tobacco products for at least six months.
In the studies, the researchers looked at the benefit of behavioural, motivational support from dental professionals in different ways.
· usual care
· no motivational intervention;
· brief support and advice to stop smoking to improve health
· a less active form of behavioural support
The main findings of our observations
Behavioural programmes delivered by dental professionals and nicotine replacement therapy or e‐cigarettes probably help more people stop smoking.
Statistically, on average, 74 out of 1000 people stopped compared with 27 out of 1000 people who did not receive behavioural support based on the evidence from four studies involving 1221 persons.
Several sessions of behavioural programmes involving dental professionals may help people to stop smoking for good.
On average, 106 out of 1000 people quit smoking and 56 out of 1000 people did not receive behavioural support (the research included 2639 people in the seven studies).
A single session of a behavioural programme may also help people stop: 45 out of 1000 people stopped compared with 24 out of 1000 who did not receive behavioural support (four studies; 6328 people).
We are uncertain about the effect of advice and support from dental professionals in settings other than a dental practice (such as in a school or college).
Size of the study
The studies that tested this were too small to show a reliable effect (three studies; 1020 people).
We are uncertain if dental professionals’ behavioural programmes had unwanted effects because only one study reported this information.
Our confidence in our results
We are moderately confident about the benefit of support from dental professionals plus NRT or e‐cigarettes.
We are less optimistic about the benefits of one or several sessions of behavioural help from dental professionals.
We found weaknesses in the evidence. Some studies only asked people if they had stopped using tobacco and did not use tests – such as testing their breath or saliva – to find out if they had stopped.
Some studies did not describe clearly how they were conducted or how they assigned people to different groups.
In some studies, more than half of the people dropped out of the task before it ended.
These results may change when more high‐quality evidence becomes available.
The results are based on what we know now. Frequent research is recommended because of technological advancements and improvement that may make other smoking cessation products more effective soon.
The study found that dental practitioner can help you quit smoking
Advice and support from dental professionals involving NRT or e‐cigarettes are more likely to help people stop smoking.
Single or multiple sessions of motivational intervention and can help people to stop smoking or using nicotine products.
Authors’ conclusions Implications for practice
There is very low‐certainty evidence that behavioural tobacco cessation interventions delivered by dental professionals can increase quit rates.
There is moderate‐certainty evidence that behavioural interventions combined with nicotine replacement provided by dental professionals may increase cigarette smokers’ tobacco abstinence rates.
Implications of this research
Further, well designed randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of smoking cessation interventions in dental settings are indicated.
The evidence that dental professionals’ pharmacological interventions may be a particularly effective intervention suggests that future studies should explore this further.
In particular, future studies should use biochemical validation of abstinence to preclude the risk of detection bias.
Reporting more detail about specific behaviour change techniques used in study interventions would help illuminate which components such interventions should contain.
There has been minimal attention to cost‐effectiveness to date, and as the evidence regarding effectiveness grows, this will become more important to evaluate.