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Help youngsters quit smoking, BDHF urges dentists

Posted bv Rachel Lucas

The British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF) has urged the dentistry industry to come together in order to urge young people to give up smoking.

BDHF says the profession needs to take responsibility and give youngsters strong advice on why kicking the habit is a must.

The plea comes in response to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, which shows that 60 per cent of 18 to 29-year-olds have made no attempt to quit smoking. Only 25 per cent have tried to stop, while 14 per cent have lasted longer than 30 days without having a cigarette.

Chief executive of BDHF Dr Nigel Carter said: “The results of the study certainly suggest there is plenty of room for improvement when it comes to getting young adults to kick the habit.

“Smoking cessation has long been considered a dentist’s responsibility, and clearer advice on why young adults should give up smoking is a must.”

Smokers already have access to a wealth of information highlighting the obvious dangers and side-effects of cigarettes, yet 21 per cent of people in the UK still smoke and up to half will die of tobacco-related diseases such as mouth cancer. The likelihood is that the number of people with poor dental health and increased cases of illness will continue to rise until they are forced to take notice.

With such a low percentage of young people attempting to kick the habit, BDHF says the lax attitude of 18 to 29-year-olds needs to be addressed through improved oral health education.

The BDHF has its own Tell Me About series which gives advice and information on the effects of smoking on oral health. While many people know it can cause teeth to become stained, many do not know it can lead to gum disease, tooth loss and even mouth cancer.

It hopes the number of cases of poor oral health can fall if the profession comes together to offer clear anti-smoking education to young people, as encouraging smokers to quit early could be lifesaving.

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