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    5 New Year’s resolutions every dental hygienist should make

    From eating healthier to establishing a workout routine, the new year is the perfect time to set goals for yourself.

     

    Smoking

    No Butts or Excuses! | Resolution: Quit Smoking

    While most of us are not tobacco users, one simply cannot discuss New Year’s resolutions without discussing perhaps one of the most popular of resolutions. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention2, approximately 46 million Americans smoke currently. As hygienists, we see (and smell) these patients in our office on a daily basis and are highly educated on the significant ramifications of a tobacco habit.

    Trending research: Study finds smoking dangerously alters oral microbiome

    Despite the training received during dental hygiene school and through continuing education efforts, a recent pilot study3 noted an astonishing 6 percent of dental hygienists routinely ask, assist and arrange tobacco cessation counseling sessions with their patients. Ladies and gentle hygienists, that means 94 percent of us do not routinely engage in tobacco cessation counseling with our at-risk patients.

    While we understand the devastating risks of periodontal disease, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disorders, vascular disease, hypertension, and cancers of the mouth and esophagus, to name a few, most hygienists noted that the lack of brochures regarding tobacco cessation in the office was the main barrier to not providing cessation counseling. The CDC reports a significant 70 percent of our current tobacco users wish to quit and value our training and abilities to assist them on their quitting journey. So, let’s resolve to get more pamphlets in the office, take some CE coursework on how to support our tobacco-using patients, and join the growing 6 percent of our brave colleagues who fight the good fight against tobacco every day.

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    Katrina M. Sanders RDH, BSDH, M.Ed, RF
    Katrina M Sanders RDH, BSDH, M.Ed, RF, is a graduate and recipient of countless awards from the University of Minnesota’s School of ...

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