FDI highlights role of dental practitioners on World No Tobacco Day, 2019
GENEVA, Switzerland: World Health Organization (WHO) and global partners celebrate World No Tobacco Day on May 31 every year. WHO emphasizes on a specific area every year, and this year’s primary focus was on lung health. However, FDI World Dental Federation highlighted the relationship between the use of tobacco and oral health.
WHO stated that the annual campaign was an opportunity to raise awareness about the harmful and deadly effects of tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure. The objective of the campaign was to discourage the use of tobacco in any form.
Tobacco use increases the risk of periodontal disease and oral cancer. It also causes staining of teeth, bad breath and premature loss of teeth, and leads to loss of the taste and smell sensations. Moreover, oral diseases and other non-communicable diseases share modifiable risk factors, such as tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, and high sugar diets.
According to FDI, oral health professionals are uniquely positioned to help patients reduce or quit tobacco use:
- They are equipped to identify and treat the adverse effects of tobacco on the oropharyngeal region.
- They often treat children and their caregivers, which provides opportunities to raise awareness of the dangers of tobacco.
- They often treat pregnant women and can teach them that using tobacco during pregnancy increases the risk of health problems for developing babies.
- They can contribute to a multidisciplinary approach to help their patients quit; for example, they can be the first to refer their patients to a tobacco cessation programme.
- They can motivate their patients who are smokers to quit by showing them the harmful effects of tobacco on the mouth.
The global health community agrees one should consider every day as a World No Tobacco Day. By understanding and raising awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco use on oral health and overall health, patients and practitioners can work together to help minimize the tobacco use worldwide.