Dental teams must target mums-to-be to help them quit smoking

Dental teams must step up to help mums-to-be quit smoking, Fiona Sandom says

Dental teams should include smoking cessation as part of their treatment service to improve the nation’s future health.

This comes from Fiona Sandom, president of the British Association of Dental Therapists (BADT), who claims that the principle of ‘making every contact count’ should be embraced into dental hygiene programmes.

These warnings come in the run-up to No Smoking Day, held on the 9 March, and Fiona believes this is the perfect opportunity to highlight the benefits of healthy lifestyles.

‘No Smoking Day – like any other national health awareness campaign – offers health professionals the perfect opportunity to draw attention to lifestyle habits and their health risks,’ Fiona said.

‘It also underpins the importance of an inter-disciplinary approach to healthcare and reminds dental professionals that we are at the very forefront of empowering patients to make positive change.’

No Smoking Day

More than a third (37%) of smokers have noticed a negative effect on their appearance since they took up the habit.

Over a third (36%) believe their teeth had become discoloured, and 71% say they are concerned over the effect smoking could have on their health, leading the British Heart Foundation to encourage dental teams to use No Smoking Day as an opportunity to raise awareness of the effects from smoking.

Fiona Sandom and the BADT also believe that the BADT should target young pregnant mums who smoke, particularly those in deprived areas, after recent figures found 2.1% of women in Westminster were smoking by the time their baby was born, compared with 27.2% in Blackpool.

‘Despite a recent reduction in the number of mums-to-be smoking, there’s still much to be done,’ Fiona continued.

‘The health of a baby in the womb is key when it comes to its lifelong heath, with smoking a big risk to the health of the unborn child.

‘More than 70,000 babies every year are born in the UK to mothers who smoke through their pregnancy.

‘The figures for teenage mums-to-be are considerably higher, with rates much higher in poorer communities.

‘We therefore have a key role to play in helping to further reduce these rates, equipped as we are with the skills to help.

‘An automatic referral for pregnant smokers to specialist services (unless they opt out) would encourage more women to seek help in quitting and would make a world of difference to current statistics.’

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