Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Doctor, Dentist Visits Quell Smoking

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By James Gaffney

Mature Life Features

  If you see your doctor  and dentist on a regular basis, you’re more likely to quit smoking and to remain a non-smoker, according to a study published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.

  “Having a regular physician and seeing a physician recently seems to have an important  association with whether or not an older patient is a current smoker,” according to Mark S. Kaplan and Jason T. Newsom of Portland State University and Bentson H. McFarland of the Oregon Health & Science University. “Older adults’ contacts with physicians and dentists are strongly negatively associated with smoking among older adults.”

  Kaplan and his colleagues base their conclusion on a study of one of the largest samples of older adults in which correlations of late-life smoking have been investigated. The sample also included one of the largest arrays of social and demographic variables as predictors of smoking behavior. The analysis is based on data from the Canadian National Population Health Survey conducted by Statistics Canada of 73,402 households across Canada. Kaplan and his associates used the health files of 13,363 persons aged 65 and older who had complete data.

  In the study, 15 percent were current smokers, 41 percent were former smokers, and 44 percent never smoked. The majority of older smokers had not visited a dentist in more than five years. More specifically, individuals without a regular physician and with infrequent physical and dental checkups were more likely to be smokers.

  Kaplan and his associates hope the study will help guide physicians and dentists when they see older patients. “Although physicians have a unique opportunity to intervene when their patients need help to quit smoking, previous studies have shown that fewer than half ask their patients about tobacco use,” he said. While dentists are more likely than physicians “to estimate their patients’ tobacco use accurately, they were less likely to assess and intervene, and less supportive of tobacco cessation, according to prior studies,” said Kaplan.

  “Given the frequency of dental-care among older smokers, communication and cooperation between physicians and dentists are of crucial importance with respect to the management of late-life smoking.”

Mature Life Features, Copyright 2003

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Written by Cecil Scaglione

June 24, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Posted in Health

Tagged with , ,

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