Maryland Dental Hygienists' Knowledge, Opinions and Practices Regarding Dental Caries Prevention and Early Detection
Source: Journal of Dental Hygiene, Volume 86, Number 4, Fall 2012 , pp. 292-305(14)
Publisher: American Dental Hygienists' Association
Abstract:Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess Maryland dental hygienists' knowledge, practices and opinions regarding dental caries prevention and early detection. Methods: A 30 item survey was mailed to 1,258 Maryland dental hygienists. Two follow-up mailings and email reminders were sent. Results: The response rate was 43% (n=540). Nearly all respondents were female (98%), and 58% practiced in solo settings. Knowledge and certainty of knowledge were moderate: sealants are needed regardless of topical fluoride use (55% certain, 40% less certain), newly erupted permanent molars are the best candidates for sealants (54%, 36%) and professionally applied fluorides are desirable in areas without fluoridated water (55%, 36%). Fewer were certain that incipient lesions can be remineralized before cavitation (23%, 69%), and dilute, frequently administered fluorides are more effective in caries prevention than concentrated, less frequently administered fluorides (6%, 24%). Opinions regarding effectiveness of protocols for 2 age groups from 6 months to 6 years, the challenges of early childhood caries (ECC), prevention practices regarding sealant and topical fluoride applications varied widely. Eighty-nine percent reported routinely assessing dental caries risk factors of child patients and 90% were interested in continuing education courses. There were no significant differences between different types of practice settings, year of graduation, race/ethnicity or gender. Conclusion: Knowledge of recommended guidelines for fluoride and sealant application support clinical decision-making and self-care counseling. Misinformation and lack of understanding of current research and recommendations identify a need for educational interventions in undergraduate dental hygiene programs and through continuing education for practicing hygienists.
Document Type: Research article
Affiliations: 1: Professor at the School of Dental Hygiene, Faculty of Dentistry, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada 2: Research associate professor at the Center for Health Literacy, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, USA 3: Professor and associate dean for research at the School of Public Health, University of Maryland, USA 4: Professor at the Department of Behavior and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, USA 5: professor at the Department of Language Studies, Prince Georges Community College, USA
Publication date: 2012-09-01