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Arch Hellen Med, 21(4), July-August 2004, 363-369


Comparison of the knowledge and behavior level regarding oral health
of periodontal patients and hospital doctors

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

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

METHOD The research sample consisted of 203 hospital doctors of Attica (120 men and 83 women aged 26–65) and 200 periodontal patients (93 men and 107 women aged 18–80) who visited the Clinic of Periodontology of the University of Athens for periodontal treatment. The same multiple-choice questionnaire was handed out to all subjects. The questionnaire 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 doctors preferred preventive visits to their dentist, in comparison to the periodontal patients (P=0.0031). A statistically significant difference was observed between the two groups, as 31.5% of the doctors and 18.0% of the patients used dental floss (P=0.00167). The examined hospital doctors preferred the vertical (non effective) and roll (effective) brushing methods, while periodontal patients preferred horizontal and random (non effective) brushing methods (P=0.00001). None of the two groups devoted sufficient time for effective oral hygiene. 37 patients (18.5%) and 7 doctors (3.5%) considered gingival bleeding to be “a random or natural phenomenon”. The overwhelming majority of the examined doctors and the weak majority of the patients considered gingival bleeding as a sign of disease (P<0.00001). Both doctors and patients seem to be confused about the etiology of the periodontal disease. Doctors rather than patients implicate heredity for periodontal disease (P=0.00157).

CONCLUSIONS (a) The behavior level of the hospital doctors regarding oral health has been found to be better than that of the patients, although below the expected. (b) There is no significant difference in the knowledge level regarding oral health between the doctors and the patients examined. (c) The aforementioned conclusions show how essential the need for information and motivation of the medical community is, regarding oral health and prevention.

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

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