Dentists and other health care professionals are familiar with the impact of tobacco on oral and general health. However, oral health care professionals do not often provide tobacco-cessation counseling to their patients, thus reflecting a significant disconnect between research and clinical practice. This report demonstrates the benefits of tobacco cessation in resolving oral lesions and improving overall periodontal and oral health.
A 51-year-old white male presented to the University at Buffalo, School of Dental Medicine clinic requesting an oral and periodontal examination as part of a presurgical protocol prior to cardiac surgery. A review of the patient's history from a health questionnaire revealed that he was using smokeless tobacco every day. An oral examination revealed several white lesions (5 x 10 mm) on the maxillary right and left labial mucosa. The patient was provided with tobacco-cessation counseling as well as oral hygiene instructions and professional dental prophylaxis.
An oral examination 2 weeks after tobacco cessation revealed complete resolution of the oral lesions and overall improvement of periodontal and oral health.
Although the findings presented in this article are based only on a single case report, the improvement in the patient's oral health after cessation of tobacco use was dramatic and reinforces the belief that tobacco-cessation counseling should be a routine component of the standard of care for tobacco-using patients.