Objectives: To assess Jordanian doctors' knowledge of the connection between diabetes and oral health and assess their willingness to advise their diabetic patients to seek dental treatment and determine the associated factors.
Methods: Data were collected from 164 doctors practising in Jordan using a structured questionnaire. Chi-squared test and regression analyses were conducted to reveal factors influencing the awareness, perception and knowledge of health care professionals regarding diabetes and oral health.
Results: Of the respondents, 70% had heard of the link between diabetes and oral health. The majority agreed that diabetes increased the tendency to have periodontitis but only half advised their diabetic patients to consult a dentist concerning their oral health. Only a third of doctors agreed that oral health was an issue in controlling diabetes. Books, magazines and pamphlets were the main source of information with the rate of 58%, medical journals and medical curriculum were the second and third sources, respectively. General medical practitioners were less informed than specialized doctors about the relationship between oral health and diabetes. Factors that significantly predicted doctors would advise dental visits were: (1) being a specialist (P = 0.037); (2) having positive knowledge about the association between diabetes and oral health (P = 0.02, P = 0.007 and P = 0.004, respectively).
Conclusion: There is limited knowledge of the relationships between oral health and diabetes. The more knowledgeable doctors are, the more likely they are to make dental referrals. Screening and referral by health professionals may benefit diabetic patients by improving access to dental care. Therefore, there is a need to educate doctors about oral health and diabetes.
© 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.