Monday, August 21, 2006

Smokers Less Likely to Visit Dentist

(HealthDay News) -- Smokers are less likely to seek dental care than nonsmokers, even though they are more susceptible to oral disease, new research shows.
Researchers drew their conclusions from data gathered in a 2000 government health care survey of more than 15,000 Americans.
"We found that 33 percent of current smokers reported having at least one dental visit that year compared to 45 percent of nonsmokers," said lead author Susan K. Drilea, whose study was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This occurs even though smokers face increased risk of gum disease, tooth loss and oral cancers, she said.
Future research should determine why smokers don't visit the dentist more often, Drilea said.
"Determining whether this is a matter of personal choice, a lack of awareness, a financial issue, or whether there are obstacles as part of the dental visit itself" could be helpful, she said.
The findings appear in the current issue of the American Journal of Health Behavior.

More information
The American Dental Association has more about smoking and dental care.


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