Oral health professionals are in an ideal position to help their clients quit smoking. A short conversation with an oral health professional can trigger a quit attempt.
Smoking and oral health
Smoking is a major contributor to the development of both oral cancer and periodontal (gum) disease.
- The first signs of smoking damage are usually in the mouth.
- Smoking affects the mouth, teeth and gums, and can impact on treatment options.
- In addition to stained teeth and periodontal disease, even people without teeth should be made aware of changes to taste, smell and saliva, and soft tissue changes including mouth cancer.
- There are many opportunities to initiate a short conversation about smoking within a dental visit.
- Most people who smoke want to quit, and most will have tried to quit. They expect your help.
Personalised quit smoking advice from an oral health professional, with a follow-up, has significant impact on whether a patient will try to quit.
Taking action - what to do
The brief advice model (Ask, Advise, Help) is fast and simple, is as effective as longer models (eg, 5As) and is well received by clients and health professionals.
Oral health professionals can provide best practice smoking cessation assistance within the time constraints of a busy practice and guide clients towards evidence-based solutions.
- Refer to the Have you helped someone quit smoking today: chairside guide for oral health professionals.
- Refer clients to the Quitline using the Referral Fax Sheet or online referral form.
- Explain the Quitline referral process and reinforce the benefits of quitting to clients with the Quit referral information pad.
- Encourage your clients to speak with their GP or pharmacist about nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or quitting medications – some products are subsidised by the PBS with a GP prescription.
- Provide information to your clients about smoking, quitting and oral health.