September 2016

Volume 33, Issue 3

Lay public’s use of a support group for general dental problems

Authors: R.D. Jackson K.K. Walker
doi: 10.1922/CDH_3838Walker06


Objective: To categorize and tabulate layperson inquiries made to an Internet dental health support site to identify oral conditions and associated behaviors of concern. Methods: A retrospective tabulation of wall postings was made from an established dental health support website hosted by WebMD over a 2-year period (April 2013-April 2015). A mixed method approach of content and thematic analysis was used. Content analysis identified content of oral health concerns, while thematic analysis using grounded theory identified themes and beliefs concerning associated behaviors. Results: The presence of non-descript growths on the tongue and swelling and/or discoloration of the lips elicited the most inquires. These were often self-diagnosed as oral candidiasis, a STD or a carcinoma, provoking high levels of self-concern. Unprotected sexual activity, excessive ingestion of soft and hard beverages, smoking and overexposure to the sun were the most frequently self-reported behaviors associated with their concerns. Many questions focused upon “normal” healing, including the amount of edema and discomfort that could occur following oral surgery or other dental procedures. Information concerning alternative treatments was often solicited, and many alluded that they had not been provided sufficient information to make informed decisions prior to dental treatment. Conclusion: Laypersons have many oral health concerns particularly in relationship to the development of undiagnosed pathologies in conjunction with a history of volitional behaviors. The dental community should monitor these sites to provide advice and links to information about common oral health concerns and their possible association with detrimental behaviors. Key words: oral health, self-help groups, knowledge, health education, online, internet


Other articles in this issue

Article Pages Access
Editorial: Selling a sugar tax: the sweet smell of success? 174-176 Download
The teaching of Dental Public Health – 50 years on 177-180 Download
The teaching of Dental Public Health and its relation to Children’s Dentistry 181-184 Download
Challenges identified in a pilot outreach dental service for Traveller children in Hackney, East London 185-188 Download
Lay public’s use of a support group for general dental problems 189-194 Download
Understanding avoidance and non-attendance among adolescents in dental care - an integrative review 195-207 Download
Variations in survival time for amalgam and resin composite restorations: a population based cohort analysis 208-212 Download
Impact of providing free preventive dental products without health workers’ counselling on infants’ tooth-brushing and bottle-feeding termination practices: a randomised controlled trial 213-217 Download
The dental public health implications of cosmetic dentistry: a scoping review of the literature 218-224 Download
Development of life story experience (LSE) scales for migrant dentists in Australia: a sequential qualitative-quantitative study 225-231 Download
Dental pain and its determinants in an adult population in Tehran, Iran, Urban HEART-2 232-236 Download


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