Author(s): DeBate RD, Tedesco LA, Kerschbaum WE
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Abstract Despite the crucial role oral health care providers can have in the early identification of eating disorders and the referral and case management of patients with these disorders, little is known concerning their knowledge of oral complications of these disorders. The purpose of this study was to determine the knowledge among dentists and dental hygienists concerning the oral and physical manifestations of eating disorders. Employing a randomized cross-sectional study, data were collected from 576 dentists and dental hygienists randomly selected from the American Dental Association and the American Dental Hygienists' Association. Results indicated low scores concerning knowledge of oral cues, physical cues of anorexia, and physical cues of bulimia among study participants. More dental hygienists than dentists correctly identified oral manifestations of eating disorders (p=.001) and physical cues of anorexia (p=.010) and bulimia (p=.002). As the first health professional to identify oral symptoms of eating disorders, the most important task of the dental care provider when identifying oro-dental signs of eating disorders is to ensure that the patient receives treatment. Implications for education include the addition of conceptual, procedural, and skill-based curricula objectives addressing etiologic assessment and patient communication--thus increasing behavioral capacity for delivery of restorative care and patient referral.
This article was published in J Dent Educ
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals