A new campaign with Derby’s dentists and dental surgery staff is helping smokers quit during National Smile Month by offering them a free referral to expert help.
Ten of the city’s dental practices have already signed up for the new initiative in partnership with organisers Fresh Start – Derby’s free NHS Stop Smoking Service – and more are set to join.
Stop Smoking advisor Lucia White, from Fresh Start, which is part of Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, said: ‘We wanted to work with dental practices to reach more people who may want help to stop smoking because there is a big link between smoking and oral health problems.’
Dental practices are being invited to opt in to the scheme which is designed to make it as quick and easy as possible to refer patients to Fresh Start.
Lucia said: ‘We are raising awareness of the help Fresh Start can offer and giving dental staff the tools to make referrals to us on the spot, so it is more hands-on than just giving out our details and hoping patients will follow up on it.
‘It is recognised that smokers are four times more likely to stop smoking with the sort of help that Fresh Start can offer, than by going it alone.’
Lucia added: ‘We know dentists are busy people, so we’ve made the referral process as simple as possible and the beauty of it is that anybody at the dental practice can make referrals to us. It could be the receptionist talking to somebody booking a dental appointment or a hygienist or dental nurse.’
Participating Derby dentist Conor Donogan said: ‘The commonest cause of gum disease currently in the UK is smoking. Gum disease is still the commonest reason why people lose their teeth. Smokers are seven times more likely to get gum disease and lose their teeth compared to non-smokers. So, now is the time to stop and keep your smile.’
National Smile Month – www.nationalsmilemonth.org – runs until 15 June but this initiative between Fresh Start and Derby dentists is set to carry on beyond the middle of June.