Dental Health Services Victoria (DHSV) has co-designed a program with oral health professionals to help them raise the issue of smoking with their patients.
Smoking significantly increases the risk of developing oral cancer and periodontal disease, and the latest statistics show that more than 16 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed in Victoria every week.
With smoking the leading cause of preventable deaths and diseases in Australia, it is important that dental professionals reassess their approach to addressing their patients’ smoking.
Working in partnership with Quit Victoria, The Australian Dental Association Victorian Branch and funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, the DHSV program, Smokefree Smiles, recognises that a significant number of oral health professionals—33 to 66 per cent according to the statistics—are not having discussions with their patients regarding their smoking. This is despite the fact that patients actually expect dentists to talk about smoking with them. Moreover, a surprising 20 per cent of unmotivated patients will try to quit after even a short conversation.
With ever increasing clinical and time pressures, Smokefree Smiles promotes a quick 3-step framework of Ask, Advise and Help, and highlights a number of simple things oral health professionals can do to make a positive impact.