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‘It’s their mouth at the end of the day.’: Dental professionals’ reactions to oral health education outcomes.

Barnes, Emma ORCID:, Bullock, Alison ORCID: and Chestnutt, Ivor G. ORCID: 2022. ‘It’s their mouth at the end of the day.’: Dental professionals’ reactions to oral health education outcomes. British Dental Journal 10.1038/s41415-022-4978-z

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Introduction Research has established varying levels of efficacy of oral health education (OHE) efforts. However, little is known regarding how outcomes impact dental professionals and their OHE practice. This study explores dental professionals' reactions to varying OHE outcomes and their motivations to persist with their efforts. Methods Qualitative, semi-structured interviews were conducted with dental team members working in mainly NHS general dental practices in South Wales, UK. Interviews were conducted face-to-face pre-COVID-19 and then by telephone, transcribed and analysed thematically. Results In total, 30 interviews were conducted (17 dentists, 6 dental therapists and 7 dental nurses). Pleasure was gained from improved patient oral health. Responses to non-adherence included disappointment, frustration and acceptance. Acceptance centred around a shared responsibility for oral care between clinician and patient and reassurance that they had 'done their job'. The unpredictability of patient adherence aided OHE motivation; efforts might eventually inspire patient action or might align with patient readiness to change. Conclusions This study reveals how OHE outcomes impact on dental professionals' perceptions of their role and personal motivations for continued educational efforts with patients. Greater emphasis on both preventative dentistry and self-care, coupled with understanding of the complex factors influencing oral health behaviour, would aid motivation for OHE.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: In Press
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Cardiff Unit for Research and Evaluation in Medical and Dental Education (CUREMeDE)
Publisher: British Dental Association
ISSN: 0007-0610
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 8 July 2022
Date of Acceptance: 26 May 2022
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2023 04:10

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