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J Dent Educ. 2002 Sep;66(9):1079-87.

Effectiveness of tobacco counseling in the dental office.

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  • 1Department of Oral Medicine and Experimental Pathology, WHO Collaborating Centre for Oral Cancer and Precancer, Guy's, King's and St. Thomas' School of Dentistry, King's College London, UK.


This article describes the results of studies among dental care providers regarding tobacco cessation in the past two decades. In the early period, surveys described what dentists were doing in their own practices. The results suggested that they were not adequately communicating to their patients the importance of quitting. There is good evidence that brief interventions from health professionals can increase rates of smoking cessation. The outcome from a number of trials that examined the feasibility of conducting smoking cessation in dental practices is reviewed here. The pivotal role of a team approach is highlighted in many studies. Dentists who implement an effective smoking cessation program can expect to achieve quit rates up to 10-15 percent each year among their patients who smoke or use smokeless tobacco. The challenge is implementing effective treatment in one's practice or institution while using available primary care resources to provide additional benefit.

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