A: First and foremost, I begin by starting casual conversation so that I may learn a little about the patient and their lifestyle. I then talk with the patient about the hazards of smoking.
I also try to give patients ideas on tips that might help them quit smoking:
- Set a date in the future.
- Tell everyone so they can help you.
- Keep a list of the reasons why you are quitting.
- When the strong urge hits, repeat to yourself 10 times "I am a non-smoker." The strong urge usually only lasts 30 seconds and by repeating that phrase over and over you will begin to see yourself as a non-smoker.
- For those who are afraid of the weight gain and snacks, I tell them to keep a pocket mist of Listerine in their pocket. Whenever they have the urge to smoke, spray Listerine into their mouths to satisfy the oral stimulation.
I explain to patients how quickly the body starts to heal itself from the toxins. I understand how strong the addiction to cigarettes can be and I try to be positive and boost the patient's morale.
Q: What about women in particular?
A: For my female patients, I explain about the effects of the chemicals to the mouth and whole body. I point out that in today's society, everyone is concerned about the chemicals in food and the germs that surround us, yet millions of people inhale toxic chemicals into their body every day. They are poisoning themselves from the inside out.
Lynn Southerland, RDH, has worked in a variety of settings from private practice, corporate practice, temporary, contract, and for the state. She loved the opportunities that each job gave her. She has been very active with the Texas Dental Hygienist's Association and has served as President and Trustee for her local component. She also held the office of Professional Education Council chairperson, Public Affairs Council chairperson, Website Maintenance chairperson, TDHA Representative to Texas Oral Health Coalition, member of the Advocacy Committee Texas Oral Health Coalition, member of the Corporate Relations Committee, member of the Area Media Spokesperson Committee, member of the Governmental Affairs Council, and member of the Temple College Dental Hygiene Advisory Committee. She is also the treasurer for the American Academy of Dental Hygiene. On the local level, she has served on the Health Services Council of Head Start and as a board member for the local branch of the Smiles for Lifetime Foundation. Lynn returned to college and graduated with a Bachelor?s Degree in Dental Hygiene from East Tennessee State University in 2010.