Bad breath, stained teeth, loss of taste and smell, mouth (canker) sores, failure of dental implants and oral cancer are just some of the tobacco-related oral care issues dental hygienists see every day. As frontline patient caregivers, dental hygienists are in a unique and trusted position to discuss the overall health implications of continued tobacco use.
To help support dental hygienists in these efforts, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association is pleased to partner with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on its Tips From Former Smokers® (Tips®) campaign. “We are honored that the CDC invited ADHA to partner on their 2018 Tips campaign,” says ADHA Chief Executive Officer Ann Battrell, MSDH. “Dental hygienists see the direct impact of smoking and can play a key role in educating patients and caregivers about tobacco use.” Tobacco smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States. In addition to the oral care issues noted above, tobacco use has also been implicated in the gum recession, bone loss and tooth loss associated with periodontal (gum) disease. Smoking also weakens a person’s immune system, which makes it harder to fight off a gum infection. Smokers are twice as likely as a nonsmoker to have gum disease.
The centerpiece of the CDC’s Tips campaign is a series of public service announcements featuring real former smokers talking about how smoking has impacted their lives and how smoking-related illnesses have forever changed the lives of everyday people. In addition to these commercials, ADHA will be working with CDC to share specific materials for dental hygienists that AHDA members can use with their patients. CDC has already established a web page for dental professionals and ADHA will be adding additional materials to this site and to ADHA.org throughout the campaign.