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Addressing tobacco control in dental practice: a survey of dentists' knowledge, attitudes and behaviours in India

Janakiram Chandrashekar, B C Manjunath, Madhu Unnikrishnan
Oral Health & Preventive Dentistry 2011, 9 (3): 243-9
22068180

PURPOSE: Dental professionals are strategically placed to be the leaders in tobacco prevention and cessation as they provide preventive and therapeutic services to a basically healthy population on a regular basis. The objective of this study was to assess the tobacco cessation knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of dental practitioners in Kochi (Cochin), Kerala, India.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A sampling frame of dentists enrolled in the Indian Dental Association (IDA), Kochi (Cochin) branch, practising in Ernakulam city, was obtained from the IDA. The letter describing the rationale for the study contained a 35-item pre-tested questionnaire and was personally delivered along with a stamped envelope. One hundred fourteen dentists returned a usable questionnaire. Data were entered and analysed using SPSS 12. Frequencies were calculated for all variables.

RESULTS: Based on the responding dentists' self-reports, 54.6% were not confident in tobacco cessation counselling, 10.6% never asked, 60.9% asked in 50% of their patients about tobacco use and 17.6% of the dentists surveyed were smokers themselves. Participating dentists perceived that they were interested in using tobacco cessation counselling, but were not sure of quitting rates in their patients. The average time spent counselling patients about tobacco cessation was less than 2 minutes.

CONCLUSION: The dentists perceived that lack of formal training leads to less motivation about tobacco counselling and hence infrequently incorporated tobacco cessation into their dental practices. The cessation of tobacco habits among dentists is essential.

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