Finnish Dentists Find Smoking Cessation Important but Seldom Offer Practical Support for Their Patients

Community Dent Health. 2017 Dec 1;34(4):241-247. doi: 10.1922/CDH_4076Gronholm07.


Objectives: To investigate Finnish dentists' smoking cessation related attitudes, consultation practices and familiarity with the local treatment guideline on smoking cessation.

Basic research design: An online questionnaire was sent to 1740 dentists, which corresponds to 39% of dentists in Finland. A total of 456 dentists responded (response rate 26%), of whom 435 (95%) were clinicians. The dentists' smoking cessation practices were also compared to ones reported in a previous study in Finnish physicians.

Results: Dentists found smoking cessation important and often discussed and recommended quitting to the patients, but concrete withdrawal actions were seldom provided. The local treatment guideline on smoking cessation was actively utilized by 36% of the dentists. Adherence to the guideline was associated with higher rates of smoking cessation activities and success in them. Smoking cessation activity among dentists was significantly lower than in Finnish physicians. In accordance with the literature, among dentists, the most common barriers for smoking cessation were lack of time (44%) and education (42%).

Conclusion: Although smoking cessation is discussed with patients, dentists are less active in taking concrete actions to support the patient on withdrawal. Adherence to the local treatment guideline was associated with better capabilities in dealing with tobacco withdrawal and a more active role in smoking cessation. The results suggest that more education on the local smoking cessation treatment guideline and cessation intervention is needed in order to overcome the remaining barriers to promoting effective smoking cessation in dental practice.

Keywords: smoking; smoking cessation; smoking cessation interventions; tobacco.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Dentist-Patient Relations*
  • Dentists*
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Practice Patterns, Dentists'*
  • Professional Role*
  • Self Report
  • Smoking Cessation*