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As Dental Hygienists we genuinely care about the best interests of our clients and promote oral and overall health. We are prevention focused...how wonderful is that! As dental professionals, we always try to do what is best for our clients, but are we doing everything we can to aid our clients with smoking cessation?

Did you know that according to the Canadian Cancer Society,

“Smoking tobacco is the leading preventable cause of premature death in Canada. Not using tobacco is one of the most effective ways to lower the number of Canadians who die each year.”

Considering that we are a prevention focused group of professionals; smoking cessation is right up our alley!

However, even with the best of intentions the smoking cessation conversation can become uncomfortable, ineffective and sometimes even argumentative. So how do we approach clients in a way that is useful to them and allows us to get our message across? Well, I only have a limited space here to share with you, but some of the key ingredients include:

1)    Building a rapport. This should always be our first step. We will be much more effective if our clients feel ‘safe’ and comfortable in our office and with us as dental professionals. 

2)    Watch your body language and tone of voice. To effectively engage our clients we must show that they have our attention and we are not judging them.

3)    Use non-judgemental open ended questions. (Specific questions and how to use them are discussed in my seminar)

4)    Listen more than talk.

5)    Remember that we cannot make our clients change. It is their life; respect their autonomy to make their own decisions. We are there to help and can make a difference!

6)    Educate in a collaborative way. Avoid using scare tactics.

Again, this is just a glimpse at what we can do when discussing smoking cessation with our clients. To find out more and experience hands-on learning, please join me and participate in my interactive seminar, Smoking Cessation: A Dental Hygiene Perspective: All Day Edition at the rdhu!