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Arch Hellen Med, 21(3), May-June 2004, 281-288


Knowledge and behavior level regarding oral health
of hospital doctors of Αttica

Department of Periodontology, School of Dentistry, University of Athens, Athens, Greece

OBJECTIVE This epidemiological study was designed so as to estimate the level of knowledge and behavior of hospital doctors of Attica, as regards oral health and hygiene.

METHOD A 19 multiple-choice questionnaire was handed out to 203 hospital doctors, 120 men and 83 women. The questionnaires comprised of 19 questions, 10 of which concerned behavior, whereas 9 concerned their knowledge regarding oral health and hygiene.

RESULTS Evaluation of research findings showed that the degree of knowledge and the behavior of the examined doctors is low. More precisely, the majority of the doctors (58.6%) visit their dentist when they feel pain or have a specific problem. Women prefer preventive visits to their dentist, in contrast to men (P<0.01). 31.5% of the doctors used dental floss. A statistically significant difference was observed between the sexes and the age groups in favor of women (P<0.01) and young doctors (P<0.001), since the overwhelming majority of the doctors who use dental floss were women and belonged to the age group of 26–35 years old. The majority of the doctors examined were using the vertical (32.5%) and roll brushing methods (28.1%). The two most effective brushing methods (Bass and roll) were applied by the 29.0%, while the overwhelming majority (71.0%) were using non-effective brushing methods (horizontal, vertical and random). A statistically significant difference was also observed between the brushing technique and the time taken to perform oral hygiene. The majority of the doctors who used the most effective brushing techniques (Bass and roll) had increased duration of each oral hygiene session, in juxtaposition to the majority of those who used less effective brushing techniques who devoted less time for each oral hygiene session (P<0.001). 27.6% of the doctors do not know that the aim of oral hygiene is to remove the microorganisms from the gums. A higher percentage of men than women believe that tooth loss is a consequence of growing old (P<0.001). A 7.9% of the doctors is unaware of the importance of gum bleeding, and considered gingival bleeding to be “a random or natural phenomenon”. Only 52.2% are aware of the importance of oral hygiene for the prevention of periodontal diseases, while 47.8% avoided brushing when bleeding was present. 53.7% believed that the periodontal disease is hereditary, probably because doctors have not understood the microbial etiology of the periodontal disease.

CONCLUSIONS (a) The behavior and knowledge level of the examined hospital doctors has been found to be below the expected. (b) The examined hospital doctors have not adopted and do not apply preventive measures for the oral diseases. (c) There is a lack of knowledge regarding the microbial etiology of periodontal disease.

Key words: Behavior, Information, Knowledge, Oral health, Oral hygiene, Periodontal disease.

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