Awareness of Medical Practitioners on the Link between Periodontitis and Systemic Diseases in a Tertiary Hospital
Periodontitis and systemic diseases
Keywords:Association, Medical practitioners, Periodontitis, Dental Referral, Systemic conditions
Background: It has been established that periodontitis is linked to some systemic conditions. It is therefore important for medical doctors to be aware of the association between this oral disease and systemic conditions so that they can refer their patients with dental needs, for supportive dental therapy. It is not yet clear how this link is understood or perceived among medical practitioners and there are limited studies in the literature on this, particularly in the South-South region of Nigeria
Objective: To assess awareness of the association between periodontitis and systemic conditions among medical practitioners and elicit the history of dental referral for supportive therapy.
Methods: This was a descriptive, cross-sectional study, conducted among medical practitioners working at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH), Rivers State, Nigeria. Data collection (socio-demographic variables, level of awareness of the link between periodontitis and systemic diseases and history of dental referrals) was carried out using a semi-structured, self-administered questionnaire. The level of awareness was categorized as follows: limited (? 1 systemic disease associated with periodontitis), Fair (2-3 systemic diseases associated with periodontitis) and Good (? 4 systemic diseases associated with periodontitis). SPSS version 25.0 was used for statistical analysis, the p-value was considered significant at ? 0.05.
Results: A total of 162 out of 250 distributed questionnaires (64.8%) were analyzed. Majority (78.4%) of the participants had a limited level of awareness of the link between periodontitis and systemic diseases while 18.5% and 3.1% of the participants had fair and good levels of awareness respectively. Only 26.5% of the participants had referred patients to the dental clinic for supportive therapy
Conclusion: The level of awareness of the association between periodontal disease and systemic conditions among medical doctors in this study was limited