JCCC Honors Journal


Periodontal diseases in the US are widespread, destructive, bacterial infections influenced by a number of contributing factors. Tobacco use is a preventable but significant behavioral risk factor for developing periodontal diseases. Tobacco use affects the body’s ability to fight infections and wreaks havoc on the oral cavity, but these ill effects can be halted upon tobacco cessation. Effective tobacco cessation interventions exist and are readily available to the student dental hygienist. It is the student’s moral and professional responsibility to address tobacco use at every client visit. Two of the most invaluable exercises a student dental hygienist can perform are preparing and practicing tobacco cessation interventions prior to client visits. Assisting a client to quit tobacco may save the client’s smile—and life.