Dentists' knowledge and opinions of oral-systemic disease relationships: relevance to patient care and education. Public Deposited

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  • Paquette, David W.
    • Other Affiliation: Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine
  • Bell, Kathryn P.
    • Other Affiliation: Pacific University School of Dental Health Science
  • Phillips, Ceib
    • Affiliation: School of Dentistry, Department of Orthodontics
  • Offenbacher, Steven
    • Affiliation: School of Dentistry, Department of Periodontology
  • Wilder, Rebecca S.
    • Affiliation: School of Dentistry, Department of Dental Ecology
  • Population studies consistently support associations between poor oral (periodontal) health and systemic diseases such as cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes. The aim of this study was to assess the knowledge of dentists and document their opinions regarding the evidence on oral-systemic disease relationships. A survey consisting of 39 items was developed and mailed to 1,350 licensed dentists in North Carolina. After three mailings, 667 dentists (49%) meeting inclusion criteria responded. The respondents were predominantly male (76.3%), in solo practice (59.5%), and in non-rural settings (74%). More than 75% of these dentists correctly identified risk factors like diet, genetics, smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity for CVD and diabetes. The majority rated the evidence linking periodontal disease with CVD and diabetes as strong (71% and 67%, respectively). These dentists were most comfortable inquiring about patients' tobacco habits (93%), treating patients with diabetes (89%) or CVD (84%) and concurrent periodontal disease, and discussing diabetes-periodontal disease risks with patients (88%). Fewer respondents were comfortable asking patients about alcohol consumption (54%) or providing alcohol counseling (49%). Most agreed that dentists should be trained to identify risk factors (96%) or actively manage systemically diseased patients (74%). Over 90% agreed that medical and dental professionals should be taught to practice more collaboratively. These data indicate that these dentists were knowledgeable about oral-systemic health associations, had mixed comfort levels translating the evidence into clinical practice, but expressed support for interprofessional education to improve their readiness to actively participate in their patients' overall health management.
Date of publication
  • Onescience ID: 0c76d9d1f439a36590474a4c927589db17ec1411
Resource type
  • Article
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
Journal title
  • Journal of Dental Education
Journal volume
  • 79
Journal issue
  • 6
Page start
  • 626
Page end
  • 635
  • Publisher
  • 1930-7837
  • 0022-0337

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