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Findings Show Dentists Don?t Talk to Patients About Smoking Habits

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More than 9 million patients reported that they did not receive advice from their dentist from 2010?2011. Nearly 31% reported that their dentist talked to them about the issue. Of those respondents, 65% claimed that their physician talked to and offered more help to quit. 

?A 2013 study found that more than three-fourths of dentists advised tobacco users to quit, but fewer dentists provided further help. The dentists in this study reported several barriers to talking with patients about tobacco cessation:

? A belief that their patients would not want to talk about the topic

? A lack of insurance reimbursement for the time spent discussing tobacco cessation

? Not knowing where to refer patients who wanted help with quitting

? Not having enough time to talk with patients about tobacco cessation.

A tool that can be used by both doctors and dentists is the new CDC anti-smoking campaign, which raises the issue of periodontal disease among other diseases caused by smoking. Anecdotal stories of different individuals struggling with smoking and other diseases make up the campaign. 

"These new ads are powerful," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D. "They highlight illnesses and suffering caused by smoking that people don't commonly associate with cigarette use. Smokers have told us these ads help them quit by showing what it's like to live every day with disability and disfigurement from smoking."

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