How Dentistry May Help People Stop Smoking

For both men and women, cigarette smoking is a primary risk factor for oral cancer, lung cancer, coronary heart disease and other adverse health effects.

Male cigarette smokers are nearly twice as likely to need root canal treatment, according to a study reported in the April 2006 issue of the Journal of Dental Research.

Although the study subjects were male only, similar conclusions could likely be reached for female smokers, says the American Dental Association.

Delta Dental is collaborating with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Dentistry to study how dentists may provide tobacco cessation counseling to their patients who smoke.

Delta Dental recruited 200 of its network dentists for a controlled study that measures various types of intervention practices for patients who are tobacco users. The results are expected to yield valuable insights about tobacco cessation counseling by dentists and dental paraprofessionals.

The project initially involved enrollees from a few Delta Dental clients, and expanded to include eligible patients of the recruited dentists in California, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Those Delta Dental enrollees selected for the study may receive free counseling sessions on tobacco use. The study will not affect the plan benefits of any individual enrollee or any organization or result in any costs or fees.

Last year these dentists’ patients were surveyed to identify the benefits of the training and to compare the results with those of patients who visited dentists who received either less intensive training or no training at all.

The project is funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health to the UCSF School of Dentistry.

Community Contacts

Delta Dental Health, Education and Research Fund:

Tina Greenawalt

(717) 506-8355

Community Dental Programs:

See specific programs for contact information