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Meg Fotheringham
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A Content Analysis of Canadian Professional Association Resources on Diet and Tooth Decay
Names, Organizational Affiliations, and Locations of all Authors
M. Fotheringham1, L. Forbes2, P. Papagerakis3, J. Lieffers1;
1College of Pharmacy & Nutrition, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK 2Department of Family Relations & Applied Nutrition, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON 3College of Dentistry, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK
Tooth decay affects individuals of all ages and is an important public health concern within Canada. Dietary intake is critical to tooth decay prevention as both the chemical and physical properties of foods and beverages, as well as how they are consumed (e.g., frequency) can impact tooth decay.
Objective(s)/Process or Summary of Content
To assess the information available from websites of professional organizations in Canada that are targeted to the public on diet and tooth decay.
Method(s)/Systemic Approach Used
The websites of professional organizations and regulatory bodies for dietitians, oral health professionals, nurses, and physicians in Canada were thoroughly searched by two researchers from June-August 2020 for information related to diet and tooth decay targeted towards the general public. The webpages were downloaded and underwent content analysis using NVIVO 12 software. Approximately two webpages focused on diet and tooth decay were selected from each website for readability testing.
In total, 213 webpages from 23 websites were found to contain information on diet and tooth decay and/or general oral health. Most websites were from oral health professional organizations; few webpages were from dietitian organizations. Three major themes were identified: Foods, Beverages, & Behaviours to Limit; Foods, Beverages, and Behaviours to Choose; and Mixed & Other Unclear Messages. The most frequently discussed topic was sugar (mentioned in 67% of webpages) as it cut across multiple themes, often being discussed in the context of limitation, infant feeding, and tooth-friendly ways to eat sugar. Mixed and unclear messaging was minimal. The average webpage grade level reading score was 8.6±1.7 which exceeded the recommendation of grade six.
Organizations consistently addressed the topic of diet and tooth decay and/or general oral health information as information was scattered everywhere throughout the websites with minimal unclear and mixed messaging.
Significance to Dietetics
This study highlights a need for improved collaboration between oral health professionals, dietitians, and the general public for improving patient care and future resource development.
Funded by
Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation Establishment Grant
Original Work
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