Periodontal Diseases and Systemic Disorders: What Do Our Doctors Know? A General Practitioner's Survey Conducted in Southern France

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Abstract

Objectives

With 39,359 entries on PubMed, periodontal medicine has a prominent position in periodontal research. Good patient care requires well-advised physicians, and whereas the dental community is informed about the relationships between periodontal diseases (PDs) and an increasing number of systemic pathologies, we wondered whether general practitioners were too. Thus, we aimed to evaluate their knowledge of the links between periodontal and systemic diseases.

Methods

To this end, we sent an electronic questionnaire to the 2350 general practitioners registered to the URPS (Union régionale des Professionnels de Santé) of Midi-Pyrénées, France. They were asked about their practice, their attitude during a medical examination, and their knowledge about PDs.

Results

The analysis of 222 properly answered questionnaires showed that while most general practitioners are aware of the relationships between PDs and diabetes or cardiovascular diseases, the majority of them are unaware that obesity and respiratory and joint diseases are also concerned. Indeed, 94% of the questioned subjects consider their insight of PDs to be insufficient. Nevertheless, more than half of the interrogated physicians cared about their patients' oral health and dental care.

Conclusions

Education regarding relationships between periodontal and systemic diseases must be improved among general practitioners who are in the front line to refer high-risk patients to a periodontist.

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