Author(s): Forbes K, Thomson WM, Kunzel C, Lalla E, Lamster IB
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Abstract BACKGROUND: The prevalence of diabetes in New Zealand is reaching epidemic proportions, with serious implications for oral health. We investigated the attitudes, beliefs, and practices of New Zealand (NZ) general dental practitioners (GDPs) with respect to the management of patients with diabetes and contrasted the NZ findings with those from a similar survey of GDPs in the Northeast United States (NE US) conducted in 2002. METHODS: A nationwide postal survey was conducted of NZ dentists. A random sample was selected from the 2005 New Zealand Dental Register. Responses were received from 437 dentists (response rate: 64.5\%). RESULTS: The sample was representative. Most GDPs participated in the assessment and discussion phases of managing patients with diabetes, but the prevalence of more hands-on activities (such as testing) was considerably lower. Three-quarters of dentists asked new patients about their type of diabetes. Just over two in five respondents believed that their evaluation and/or management of the patient with diabetes were hindered by the lack of continuing education opportunities. Almost one-third of dentists were unwilling to screen for diabetes using a finger-stick test, and only 2.6\% overall had ever done so. There were only minor differences between NZ and NE US dentists. CONCLUSION: Given the increasing numbers of patients with diabetes (known and unknown), there is a need for NZ and US dentists to be more involved in their active management.
This article was published in J Periodontol
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals