Dental and Dental Hygiene Students' Knowledge and Perception on Fluoride Use in Dentistry

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The journal of contemporary dental practice




AIM: The 75th anniversary of community water fluoridation in the United States was celebrated in 2020. However, there are studies that stimulate polarized discussion over the use of fluoride in dentistry. The purpose of this study was to evaluate dental and dental hygiene students' knowledge and perception of fluoride use in dentistry. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A survey was conducted to gauge participant's knowledge and perception of fluoride and their opinion on the need for developing viable alternatives to fluoride. An Institutional Review Board (IRB# 5190496) application was filed and approved. A hard copy survey was distributed to all student classes at Loma Linda University School of Dentistry (U.S.) between January 13, 2020, and February 5, 2020. Descriptive data were compiled and analyzed. Knowledge-based questions were compared using Kruskal-Wallis procedure to evaluate correct percentage among different classes. Perception questions were analyzed using a Likert scale and also a Chi-squared test. All tests were two-sided with α at 0.05. RESULTS: Out of 482 students, 282 students responded (58.5%). The mean of correct responses for knowledge ranged from 49 to 69%. There was a statistically significant difference among the classes. Overall the perception of the use of fluoride in dentistry was positive, and it changed with exposure to lectures on fluoride over the years. CONCLUSION: There was a correlation between knowledge and the perception of the use of fluoride in dentistry, indicating the importance of adequate delivery of didactic teaching on knowledge of fluoride to dental and dental hygiene students. CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: The oral healthcare provider plays a pivotal role in communicating pertinent information on the benefits of fluoride in preventing dental caries to the general public, prompting adequate delivery of didactic teaching on this topic in dental education.





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