Smoking cessation interventions for dental patients--attitudes and reported practices of dentists in the Oxford region.
John JH., Yudkin P., Murphy M., Ziebland S., Fowler GH.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate various aspects of dentists' beliefs and practices with respect to helping their patients stop smoking. DESIGN: Postal questionnaire survey conducted in 1996. SETTING: The general dental practitioners on the health authority lists of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire. SUBJECTS: The 869 dentists registered on 1 April 1996. RESULTS: A high response rate (78%; 674/869) was obtained. The majority of respondents (82%; 95% CI: 79, 85) thought dentists should encourage their patients to stop smoking although only 37% (95% CI: 34, 41) believed dentists to be effective in smoking cessation and even fewer (18%; 95% CI: 15, 21) routinely recorded their patients' smoking status. Of respondents, 51% (95% CI: 46, 55) said they always discussed smoking with patients who had periodontal problems but only 9% (95% CI: 7, 12) always did so with patients who had no major oral health problem. Newer graduates were more likely to routinely record their patients' smoking status (P = 0.02), and to think that doctors' advice (P = 0.001) and nicotine replacement therapy (P < 0.001) were effective in promoting smoking cessation. Dentists in mainly private practices were more active than those in NHS or mixed practices in recording patients' smoking status (P < 0.001) and in discussing smoking (P = 0.002). CONCLUSIONS: Most respondents thought that dentists should encourage their patients to stop smoking but few are active in this area.