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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 120-124

An assessment of medical doctors' perception of possible interrelationship between oral and general health

1 Department of Periodontology and Community Dentistry, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
2 Department of Restorative Dentistry, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
3 Department of Ear, Nose and Throat, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. O I Opeodu
Department of Periodontology and Community Dentistry, Dental Centre, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2278-9626.134836

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Background: The possibility of some systemic diseases having oral manifestation is well established with the recent discovery that some oral diseases also adversely affect the general health of an individual. The question is, is the relationship casual or causal? Aim: To assess the perception of medical doctors concerning the possible link of oral diseases as causal/confounding factors of systemic diseases. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional survey of 250 medical doctors was carried out in three tertiary health institutions in Nigeria. Questionnaires were distributed to resident doctors to assess their perception as to the possibility of any causal relationship between the general systemic diseases and oral diseases. Results: Two-hundred and seven completely filled questionnaires were returned out of the 250 distributed. Over 50% of the respondents strongly agreed to the fact that there is a link between oral diseases and conditions such as diabetes mellitus, rheumatic heart disease, valvular heart disease, and human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome HIV/AIDS. Hypertension and premature low birth weight has the highest percentage (18.8%) of respondents strongly disagreeing with the possibility of having any link with the state of the oral health. There was a statistically significant difference in the perception of the possible link between the state of oral health and myocardial infarction between male and female respondents (P < 0.04) and also when the age-groups were considered in relationship with valvular heart disease (P < 0.02). Conclusion: This study revealed that doctors' perception of the influence of dental disease/condition on the general state of patients' health was deficient and, therefore, require improvement through health education and awareness.

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