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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Diabetes educators' knowledge, opinions and behaviors regarding periodontal disease and diabetes

Mary H Lopes, Janet H Southerland, John B Buse, Robb M Malone, Rebecca S Wilder
Journal of Dental Hygiene: JDH 2012, 86 (2): 82-90
22584445

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine certified diabetes educators' (CDE) knowledge, behaviors and opinions about periodontal disease and diabetes.

METHODS: A 33 item questionnaire was distributed to CDEs who provide counseling and education services to patients with diabetes. Questions were open and closed-ended and Likert-scale. A total of 298 CDEs participated in the survey. Descriptive statistics were utilized.

RESULTS: Most (62%) agreed that CDEs need to collaborate with dental professionals in disease management and 84% indicated interest in an oral health component being added to their continuing education. Only 20% felt confident in providing an oral health screening to their patients, while 51% discussed oral health with their patients and 64% said they have referred a patient to a dentist within the past year. Most (79%) have not received formal oral health education.

CONCLUSION: The findings indicate that CDEs are aware of and agree that there is a link between oral health and systemic health and that collaboration with the dental profession would be a positive outcome for their patients, as would oral health topics being added to their continuing education courses. By introducing inter-professional collaboration between dental professionals and CDEs, and adding an oral health component to CE courses, CDEs' ability to educate their patients regarding the oral/systemic link could improve.

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