On January 19, Dr. Heather Strock was the speaker at the Wakefield Unified Prevention Coalition meeting at the WCAT Studio in Wakefield.
The coalition (WAKE-UP) is comprised of social workers, healthcare workers, police, parents and community advocates. The organization is dedicated to reducing alcohol, tobacco and drug use among its residents, especially youths.
Dr. Strock expounded on the importance of oral cancer screenings at a dental visit. Early detection and education about high-risk factors — such as smoking (cigarettes and hookah), smokeless tobacco, vaping with e-cigarettes, and alcohol use — are the best defenses for the most preventable cause of death in the United States.
Over time, the nicotine in these products causes “neuroadaptation” that leads to a much higher tolerance and severe physiological dependence — regardless of the route of nicotine administration. Users of smokeless tobacco appear to be more addicted than cigarette smokers due to the proximity of the buccal mucosa to the brain. Nicotine is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream at levels twice as high after smoking one cigarette. The best defenses against the most preventable cause of death in the United States is early detection and education.
A Formidable Opponent
With all that we as healthcare providers, parents and youth advocates attempt to do for our children, we are up against a formidable opponent. Tobacco and nicotine companies present deceptive and aggressive marketing campaigns. Social networking ads target tweens and teens to become “friends” of their pages, creating more visibility and exposure.
Urging teens to do some research on their own will not only validate your concerns and advice, but hopefully, persuade them to not experiment with any nicotine products. An excellent resource is the National Spit Tobacco Education Project (NSTEP).
This website is inviting and easy to navigate. It provides testimonials from professional athletes and tips on how to quit if you have started.
We all need to play an active role in providing our children with a healthy future by educating them now.
If you’re interested in having a member of Future of Dentistry’s clinical team speak at an event, contact Susan or Lisa at 781-245-2299 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about WAKE-UP, visit www.wakefieldwakeup.org.