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The link between nutrition and dental erosion: what do students know?

Cansu Ozsin Ozler (Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey)
Elif Inan-Eroglu (Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Health Sciences, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey)
Meryem Uzamis Tekcicek (Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey)
Zehra Buyuktuncer (Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Health Sciences, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey)

Nutrition & Food Science

ISSN: 0034-6659

Article publication date: 4 October 2019

Issue publication date: 21 May 2020

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to assess and compare awareness and knowledge of dental erosion among nutrition and dietetics (ND) and dental students.

Design/methodology/approach

The study was designed as a cross-sectional study. It was set in a university campus in Ankara, Turkey. In all, 947 undergraduate students (534 dental and 413 ND) with a mean age of 20.9 ± 1.99 years were included. The variables measured in this study were level of awareness and knowledge of dental erosion of students and their practice on the topic. For statistical analysis descriptive statistics, Chi-square, Fisher’s Exact and Mann–Whitney U statistics were used.

Findings

Not having heard about dental erosion was more frequently reported by ND students (33.9 per cent) (p < 0.001). Dental students had significantly higher scores in knowledge of dental erosion (11.19 ± 2.23) (p < 0.001). In both disciplines, total knowledge score was increased based on the students’ academic level (r = 0.522, p < 0.01 for dental students and r = 0.242, p < 0.01 for ND students). Their practice in terms of consumption of some acidic foods showed a difference (p < 0.001).

Originality/value

There is an inevitable need for oral health education for ND students and nutrition education for dental students to fill the knowledge gap for effective oral health. Nutrition dental education should be incorporated into undergraduate ND and dentistry curriculums and continuing education of these professionals. Furthermore, providing internships in dental facilities or clinics to undergraduate ND students that include oral health assessments, guidance on evidence-based prevention techniques, dietary counseling and referrals to dentists would provide an opportunity to gain more knowledge regarding dental-related nutrition subjects. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to determine and compare dental erosion awareness, knowledge and practice among ND and dental students. Eliminating conflicts among dietetic and dental professionals is vital for improving patient health. This interdisciplinary inclination might be a shift toward a coordinated team approach for promoting oral health, prevention of dental diseases and intervention in dental diseases.

Keywords

Citation

Ozsin Ozler, C., Inan-Eroglu, E., Uzamis Tekcicek, M. and Buyuktuncer, Z. (2020), "The link between nutrition and dental erosion: what do students know?", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. 50 No. 4, pp. 665-678. https://doi.org/10.1108/NFS-04-2019-0133

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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