Objectives: The aim of the present study was to investigate current practice and perceived barriers regarding tobacco cessation activities among Swedish dental hygienists (DHs). A secondary aim was to study knowledge about the importance of tobacco cessation in relation to different oral health conditions.
Methods: A questionnaire including twenty-five questions was mailed to 400 randomly selected DHs in Sweden asking them about their tobacco cessation routines and perceived barriers. Questions were also included regarding knowledge about the importance of tobacco activities in relation to different conditions: caries, gingivitis, periodontitis, and dental implants. The study was approved by the Ethics Committee at Kristianstad University, Sweden.
Results: The response rate was 57% n = 229). Forty-five percent n = 103) of these had received courses in tobacco cessation during or after their dental hygienist graduation. Tobacco cessation services were given by 64% n = 146) of the DHs. To improve the work with tobacco cessation 53% n = 121) of the DHs expressed a need for written guidelines and 37% n = 84) wished for courses. Of those DHs (n = 83) who did not provide tobacco cessation advice, 69% (n = 57) reported insufficient competence, while the remaining 31% (n = 26) reported other obstacles to offering the service.
Conclusions: The present study indicates that to provide tobacco cessation advice in clinical practice, DHs require theoretical knowledge and clinical experience in this topic.