Research shows that smoking can damage every part of the body, including the mouth, causing life-threatening cancers and chronic diseases. During National Non-Smoking Week (January 15‒21), dental hygienists across Canada remind us all of the need to eliminate tobacco use for better oral and overall health.
Dental hygienists are skilled in health promotion, disease detection, and behavioural modification, making them important partners in tobacco cessation strategies. “We have the knowledge and judgement to detect any adverse changes in your mouth and, particularly in cases of suspected oral cancer, recommend referrals to other health professionals for diagnosis and treatment,” explains Gerry Cool, president of the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA). CDHA members encourage a tobacco-free lifestyle and work with clients to develop a good oral care plan that includes regular dental hygiene visits and oral cancer screenings. “Educating clients about the visible changes in their mouths can be a powerful motivator for tobacco cessation and may ultimately save lives,” adds Cool. “Because tobacco use is the greatest avoidable risk factor for cancer in Canada, quitting should be a goal for all.” To learn more about the links between tobacco use and oral health, and how to reduce your cancer risk, schedule an appointment with your dental hygienist today.
Serving the profession since 1963, CDHA is the collective national voice of more than 28,495 registered dental hygienists working in Canada, directly representing 18,000 individual members including dental hygienists and students. Dental hygiene is the 6th largest registered health profession in Canada with professionals working in a variety of settings, including independent dental hygiene practice, with people of all ages, addressing issues related to oral health. For more information on oral health, visit: www.dentalhygienecanada.ca.
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