Publication Abstract

Authors: Martin LM, Bouquot JE, Wingo PA, Heath CW Jr

Title: Cancer prevention in the dental practice: oral cancer screening and tobacco cessation advice.

Journal: J Public Health Dent 56(6):336-40

Date: 1996 Fall

Abstract: OBJECTIVES: In this paper we describe the proportion of US adults who report receiving oral cancer screening and tobacco cessation counseling and assistance from dentists and other health professionals. METHODS: Data from the 1992 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Cancer Control Supplement, a nationally representative sample of 12,035 adults 18 years of age and older, are analyzed. RESULTS: In 1992, less than 10 percent of adults reported oral cancer screening by a dentist or hygienist within the past three years. White adults (10.1%, 95% CI = 9.3, 10.9) reported an oral cancer screening three times more frequently than black (3.2%, 95% CI = 1.9, 4.5) or Hispanic (3.4%, 95% CI = 2.1, 4.7) adults. About half of adult current smokers had seen a dentist within 12 months, and of those only 24.1 percent (95% CI = 21.7, 26.5) had been advised to quit smoking. Heavy smokers (two or more packs a day) were more likely to have been advised to quit than light (pack or less per day) or occasional smokers. A similar proportion (24.3%, 95% CI = 17.6, 31.0) of white adult men who reported using smokeless tobacco products had been told by a dentist to quit using tobacco. CONCLUSIONS: Results from this population-based survey indicate that cancer screening and tobacco cessation advice are underutilized in the dental practice. Increased patient awareness and implementation of screening and tobacco cessation interventions could improve oral cancer incidence and mortality and have a public health benefit for other tobacco-related morbidity and mortality as well.