Obesity and the role of the dental professional

Williamson, Joanna (2013) Obesity and the role of the dental professional. BSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Introduction: Obesity is a growing problem within the United Kingdom and as a result the implication within dentistry are becoming apparent. Intervention strategies such as the National Institute for Clinical Excellences ‘Every Contact Counts’ strategy and the United Kingdoms’ Governments Foresight programme both detail an opportunistic approach to dealing with obesity which would imply the involvement of dental professionals. Additionally we are ideally placed as people often see their dentist more frequently than their doctors.

    Aims of primary research: To evaluate the diet advice being given to patients by level 5 and 6 undergraduate Dental Hygiene Therapy students at the University of Portsmouth Dental Academy, in particular looking at the focus and the extent of their advice as well as their attitudes.

    Hypothesis for primary research: within the University of Portsmouth Dental Academy, giving diet advice to obese patients in particular, may not be specific to the patients needs and based on caries prevention as opposed to general health.

    Literature Review: The majority of dentists do not give diet advice at all, let alone delivering counseling for obesity. However a large proportion feel it would be beneficial and would consider it if more evidence was found linking obesity to oral health. Other barriers to delivery include: a lack of time and training; an uncertainty of how to implement such counseling; concerns for patient lack of interest; fear of offending and appearing judgmental; a lack of training and knowledge.

    Results for primary research: Overall diet advice is focused on caries prevention and not general health. Most students felt confident delivering diet advice however this confidence decreased considerably when asked about giving diet advice to an obese patient.

    Discussion: Dental Care Professionals are ideally placed to help contribute in addressing obesity. It is within the scope of practice to give diet advice and at the University of Portsmouth Dental Academy it is often delivered, however it should be given in the best interests of the patients whether it be caries prevention or obesity. Additional training would be needed for all dental professionals to build confidence in delivery of general health messages and to identify when to refer onwards.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Portsmouth Dental Academy
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2013 16:12
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 12:30
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/13680

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