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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 64-67
Periodontal awareness in different healthcare professionals: A questionnaire survey

Department of Periodontology, Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Manipal University, Mangalore, India

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Date of Web Publication22-Nov-2012


Aim: To assess the awareness of oral hygiene, periodontal disease and availability of treatment techniques among medical professionals.
Materials and Methods: One hundred and fifty medical professionals were interviewed through a questionnaire. Those interviewed included an equal number of medical interns, postgraduates, and consultants.
Results and Conclusion: A positive attitude towards dental and periodontal check and the treatment needs was observed among those questioned. The difference was statistically significant among the groups. However, inputs from this survey can be used to organize periodontal health programs and for planning of joint ventures.

Keywords: Awareness, healthcare professionals, periodontal health

How to cite this article:
Pralhad S, Thomas B. Periodontal awareness in different healthcare professionals: A questionnaire survey. J Educ Ethics Dent 2011;1:64-7

How to cite this URL:
Pralhad S, Thomas B. Periodontal awareness in different healthcare professionals: A questionnaire survey. J Educ Ethics Dent [serial online] 2011 [cited 2023 Dec 8];1:64-7. Available from: https://www.jeed.in/text.asp?2011/1/2/64/103677

   Introduction Top

Periodontology is one of the fast growing dental specialties. Its services not only cover preventive and curative aspects of oral health, but also offer cosmetic flare and regenerative health programs. Of late, periodontal disease is thought to have systemic ramifications and has been implicated in a wide range of conditions such as hypertension, stroke, atherosclerosis, poor pregnancy outcome, to name a few. [1] Yet, periodontics is still seen to be nascent and perception of it is quite variable among the dental professionals themselves. Many studies are carried out to know the knowledge and behavior of patients attending the general and dental clinics. [2],[3] We have already reported the analysis of awareness about periodontal health and disease among the hospital-attending patient population; [4] and also found that dental healthcare utilization was higher among medical professionals than by non-medicals. [5] The studies addressing the awareness level about periodontics among other healthcare providers like medical professionals are very few. [6],[7]

The present study was planned to explore the awareness of periodontal disease and availability of treatment techniques among medical professionals.

   Materials and Methods Top

One hundred and fifty medical professionals working in a rurally based medical institute were interviewed through a questionnaire. Those interviewed included an equal number of medical interns, postgraduates, and consultants. Among the 150 interviewed, 42% (N = 63) were females. They were interviewed on a single day at their workplace.

The questionnaire covered different areas like understanding of the various terminologies (question # 1-3), knowledge about cause and/or associations with periodontal disease (question # 4-11 with 2 sub questions), availability of treatment, their concepts about them (question # 12-15), and awareness about different techniques used (question # 16-24) [Table 1].
Table 1: Questions used in the survey

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The responses were compiled, computed and analyzed for agreement or otherwise between and within the groups. Chi-square test with its corrections was used to confirm the difference in proportions. Probability of 95% was considered as statistically significant.

   Results and Discussion Top

To the questions pertaining to the various frequently used terminologies, nearly 50% of all the surveyed answered that pyorrhea and gingivitis are synonymous. And the majority of the participants knew the meanings of halitosis and dentinal hypersensitivity, and believed that periodontal disease is preventable [Table 2].
Table 2: Knowledge about some periodontal terms

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To the questions regarding the cause of periodontal disease and its associations with other systemic problems, 80 of them answered that plaque is the cause for periodontal disease. One hundred and twenty-two of them agreed that diabetes mellitus is a risk factor; and bacterial deposits contribute to periodontal disease.

The reason behind not attributing causality to Vitamin C is glaring. Vitamin C deficiency produces changes in the oral cavity and the periodontal tissues, but by itself cannot cause gingivitis and periodontitis. However, these deficiencies can affect the condition of the periodontium and thereby may accentuate the deleterious effects of plaque-induced inflammation in susceptible individuals.

There was a skewed response for considering periodontal disease as hereditary or one with genetic predisposition. Heredity and genetic(s) both are two different aspects. Periodontal disease is not hereditary but there is a genetic implication [Table 3].
Table 3: Knowledge about etiology of periodontal disease

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Although 123 of the participants answered in assertive that drugs cause gingival enlargement, the responses were not uniform when asked to indicate the drugs that would cause gingival overgrowth [Table 4].
Table 4: Drugs as a cause of gingival enlargement

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About the association between pregnancy and periodontal disease, the positive attitude was significant, be it its association with gingival hypertrophy or as a causative factor in delivery of preterm and low birth weight babies [Table 5]. This awareness among the healthcare professionals augurs well for planning joint ventures in reducing low birth weight deliveries and perinatal morbidity.
Table 5: Pregnancy and periodontal disease

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Responses regarding knowledge about treatment offered for gingival overgrowth and treatable periodontal problems like brown gums, gummy smiles and recession were poor-suggesting that there is a need for awareness on these aspects [Table 6].
Table 6: Treatment of periodontal disease

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There were questions asked about the use in periodontal therapy of bone substitutes, local drug delivery systems, LASER, alloderm, and platelet-rich plasma. Awareness about these modalities in periodontal treatment was poorer in the interviewed interns and residents [Table 7]. The awareness level was marginally higher with consultants. Questions regarding local drug delivery systems, use of LASER or platelet-rich plasma in the therapeutic armamentarium should have evoked a higher affirmative response than 56-66% since these are the modalities used in different medical practices.
Table 7: Periodontal therapy

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Half of those interviewed did not know what dental implants mean. With implantology coming up to be recognized as a subspecialty, it is necessary that information about implants be disseminated among the public and also the professionals.

When asked about scaling, the most common periodontal procedure performed, three-fourths of all respondents and 42% of consultants believed that scaling removes enamel. This misconception needs to be corrected [Table 8].
Table 8: Dental implants and scaling

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As far as the practice and attitude was concerned, it was good to know that most agreed with the impact of smoking on oral health. Similarly, most expressed belief that gum bleeding requires dental check. But, all the three groups were unsure of the frequency of dental visits that one should make in a year, less than 25% indicating that a dental visit is required [Table 9]. This indicates that although they are aware of the gum problems, the urge or the need for treatment is often underestimated.
Table 9: Attitude towards periodontal disease

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Such an attitude seems to be common in other parts of the country as well. It was reported that only 10% of dentists and 27% of physicians received a regular oral health check-up from a dentist. [8] Those who utilized the dental care facility did so only when they had problems.

The vision on oral health is that physicians need to improve and impart oral health counseling, and serve as a guide in developing positive dental attitudes. For this, the physician needs to be well informed as to the need for dental care and treatments available, which calls for a joint advocacy between the two professions. This will enable the physicians to make appropriate referrals as and when required to address the serious problems of disparities in obtaining access to professional dental services.

The information obtained from this knowledge, attitude and practice survey should be utilized to bring change in lifestyle, to counsel and to befriend dental clinics. Authors believe that the inputs of the survey will help the dental care providers to organize Periodontal Health Awareness Programs, structuring special clinics, and planning for joint ventures.

   References Top

1.Thomas BS, Bhat M, Nair S. Periodontal diseases and awareness among patients. Indian J Dent Res 2005;16:103-8.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Subhashraj K, Subramaniam B. Awareness of the specialty of oral and maxillofacial surgery among health care professionals in pondicherry. Indian J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2008;66:2330-34.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Rastogi S, Dhawan V, Modi M. Awareness of oral and maxillofacial surgery among health care professionals - a cross sectional study. J Clin Diagn Res 2008;2:1191-5.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Beck JD, Offenbacher S, Williams R, Gibbs P, Garcia R. Periodontitis: A risk factor for coronary heart disease? Ann Periodontol 1998;3:127-41.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Vaish S, Ahuja S, Dodwad V. A comparative evaluation of oral hygiene practices and periodontal status among dental and paramedical students: An epidemiological survey. JIDA 4:10.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Joshipura KJ, Pitiphat W, Douglass CW. Validation of self-reported periodontal measures among health professionals. J Public Health Dent 2002;62:2.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Mali A, Mali R, Mehta H. Perception of general dental practitioners toward periodontal treatment: A survey. J Indian Soc Periodontol 2008;12:1.  Back to cited text no. 7
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
8.Chattopadhyay A. Self-assessed oral health awareness and unmet demands among medical and dental professionals in Calcutta, India. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol 1990;18:164.  Back to cited text no. 8

Correspondence Address:
Swati Pralhad
Assistant Professor, Department of Periodontology,Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Manipal University,Mangalore - 575 001
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0974-7761.103677

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  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6], [Table 7], [Table 8], [Table 9]


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