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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health
Building capacity for a tobacco-free world
July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA
Objective: The oral cavity is a window to health consequences of tobacco smoke. Moreover, based on the oral examination, dentists can assess the potential risks of tobacco use while patients themselves can visually notice the changes in their oral health. In general, people tend to visit dentists more frequently than physicians. Hence, dentists have an important role in early detection of cancers and other tobacco-related illnesses.
Methods: Studies conducted in the United States have shown that dental providers' and physicians' interventions for tobacco use can reach cessation rates of 10 to 15 %. Inspired by this example and ones of other countries, we evaluated current policies and practices in tobacco control among dental professionals in France. Based on this review, a plan was proposed how to sensitize the dental team to tobacco dependence treatment as well as identify and remove the barriers hindering an effective action.
Results: Three suggestions emerged. First, it is necessary to improve the education of students and practitioners by providing a basic training and utilizing teaching hospitals as a model for smoke-free facilities with cessation programs. The second aim would be to facilitate the involvement of executive boards of professional societies and pharmaceutical companies, professional journals and scientific committees in the field of dental medicine. Development of networks and clear guidelines how to treat tobacco dependence in dentistry is called for. Finally, the society should provide resources for prevention and treatment in dental offices, as well as reimbursement for nicotine replacement therapy and other pharmacotherapeutics.