Assessing the Outcomes of Tobacco Cessation Practices by Maryland Dental Hygienists

Authors: Schneiderman, M; Fried, J; Parker, ME; Romberg, E; Syme, S

Source: Journal of Dental Hygiene, 1 January 2007, vol. 81, no. 1, pp. 20-20(1)


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Tobacco use is a significant risk factor for many preventable oral and systemic conditions and diseases. Tobacco cessation intervention has been successful in increasing patient quit rates, thereby improving overall health status. Dental hygienists are the primary providers of preventive oral health care education and services. However, little is known about the tobacco cessation services that hygienists provide and how efficacious their efforts are in reducing tobacco use in the patient population.

This study was designed to assess the outcomes of tobacco cessation services provided by dental hygienists. A systematic random sample of 600 Maryland hygienists was mailed a self-administered 65-item questionnaire that addressed dental Hygienists’ knowledge, attitudes, practice behaviors, and perceived barriers that influence their provision of tobacco cessation services. Sixty surveys were returned as undeliverable and 32 respondents did not fulfill employment criteria, producing a response rate of 63% (N = 320). Statistical analyses of the aggregated data included frequencies, t tests, and Pearson's r (p< .001), and were conducted using SPSS software. Significant differences were revealed in both the tobacco cessation services provided and subsequent patient quit rates by hygienists who have received formal education in tobacco cessation as compared to those without formal education. Although the majority of respondents were adequately knowledgeable about the risk factors and current statistics associated with tobacco use, there was no significant relationship between the level of knowledge and the provision of services. A positive relationship, however, was demonstrated between a higher level attitude score and tobacco cessation services provided. Perceived barriers do exist that affect the dental Hygienists’ provision of tobacco cessation services. Overcoming perceived barriers to providing tobacco cessation services will enable hygienists to contribute a valuable service for society. Funding for this project was provided through the ADHA Institute for Oral Health.

Document Type: Abstract

Affiliations: University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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