Smoking and tobacco use has always been one of the main deterrents to good oral healthcare and dental officials have urged for America to give up the habit.

There is some evidence that Americans are using tobacco on a smaller scale today than they were just a few decades ago. However, dental officials recently called out one of America’s most popular sports leagues for its continued acceptance of tobacco use.

“The American Dental Association joined eight other major medical and public health organizations in urging Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association to prohibit tobacco use at ballparks and on camera,” the ADA announced in a press release last month. “The organizations wrote a letter to MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark following the death of baseball legend and Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn. He was 54.”

Gwynn’s death has been used as an example of the harms tobacco can cause, which includes decaying oral health.

“We are deeply saddened that his life was ended far too soon by cancer that he attributed to his longtime use of chewing tobacco,” the June 24 letter stated. “Major League Baseball and the Players Association can honor Tony Gwynn’s memory by agreeing to a complete prohibition on tobacco use at ballparks and on camera. Our organizations urge you to do so without delay.”

The ADA, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Medical Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Legacy, Oral Health America and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation signed the letter and the groups said the use of smokeless tobacco endangers the health of baseball players.

“It also sets a terrible example for the millions of young people who watch baseball at the ballpark or on TV and often see players and managers using tobacco,” the letter said.

According to the ADA’s release, in 2011, MLB and the Players Association agreed to impose limitations on where and when smokeless tobacco may be used or carried, however, “these are not sufficient to eliminate smokeless tobacco use in public settings or to prevent more players from becoming addicted to these deadly products,” the letter said.

According to MouthHealthy.org, the ADA’s consumer website, chewing tobacco can harm a person’s health because it contains toxins, which can cause gum disease. Other possible oral health impacts of tobacco products include: stained teeth and tongue; dulled sense of taste and smell; slow healing after a tooth extraction or other surgery; difficulties in correcting cosmetic dental problems; and oral cancer.

The dental industry has been an advocate for kicking America’s addiction to tobacco.

The dental industry is always looking for ways to encourage better oral health, just like it is constantly looking for additional dental assistants who can help address a growing demand for dental services.

The dental industry is showing strong growth across the country.

“Today we’re seeing 3 percent to 3.5 percent [dental] industry growth — that’s just in the last few months,” said Jeff Johnson, a senior analyst of medical technology at Baird, said in a DentistryIQ.com article. “Earlier this year it was closer to 2.5 percent to 3 percent.

“If we continue to see improvement in the U.S., if consumer confidence stays high and we continue to add as many jobs as we have for the next few months, then we can get to 4 percent or 4.5 percent sometime over the next six to 12 months.”

The growth of the dental industry has contributed to the shortage of dental professionals, which can be felt across the nation. There is a growing demand for dental professionals, including those with professional training from a school like Milwaukee Career College, where experienced instructors are working with students to help them develop the skills today’s employers are looking for.

Milwaukee Career College understands that employers at dental facilities are trying to meet the growing demand for medical assistants, but the best employers are looking for dental assistants who have professional training in the relevant skills today’s medical industry demand from its medical assistants. This profession can be challenging, but professional training is the best way to establish yourself for a long-term career in the growing dental industry.