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ISRN Dent. 2012;2012:671879. doi: 10.5402/2012/671879. Epub 2012 Sep 17.

Common Perceptions of Periodontal Health and Illness among Adults: A Qualitative Study.

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  • 1Department of Community Oral Health, School of Dentistry, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, P.O. Box 1439955991, Tehran, Iran ; Department of Oral Public Health, Institute of Dentistry, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 41, 00014 Helsinki, Finland.


Objective. Our aim was to explore perceptions of periodontal health and illness and to examine attitudes and beliefs regarding prevention of gum diseases among Iranian adults. Methods. Our qualitative approach included focus-group discussions among adults aged 18 and above based on convenient and purposive sampling in Tehran. Transcripts of the four focus-group discussions were analyzed by two independent reviewers using a content analysis method. Results. Two major themes in the analyses emerged: the common perception of periodontal health and illness and the attitude towards prevention. The study demonstrated the subjects' good understanding of prevention of periodontal disease, but their lack of knowledge of the aetiology of the diseases, and an inability to differentiate aetiology, symptoms, and prevention of dental caries and periodontal disease. Conclusion. This study revealed a need for oral health education among Iranian adults to improve their knowledge and change their attitudes to achieve deeper understanding of the aetiology and prevention of periodontal disease. Health promotion programs should address misconceptions about prevention of gum disease.

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