Do you practice what you preach?


Dentists around the world preach like a cleric/priest. We ask patients to clean their teeth with a proper brushing technique, floss and rinse their mouth after every meal. Ask them to avoid chocolates, especially the yummy caramel ones, keep the snacks to minimum and say no to fizzy drinks. Clearly, our patients need not have a life while we eat back our words- and chocolates ofcourse, and hog on just about anything.

My question here is, do we- the dentists, practice what we preach? I don’t.

With the help of my Principal, Dr. Navid Rashid Qureshi of LCMD and the supervision of my two favourite teachers, Dr. Naheed Najmi, the Vice Principal of LCMD and Dr.Tahera Ayub, the Administrator and an Assistant Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery department, I set out on a journey of research. A survey which comprised of questionnaires and an examination I had to do on the dentists’ oral cavity.

A research, which, initially, became a crucial task for me as I had to examine my doctors’ oral cavity to grade their DMF (decayed, missing, filled teeth) score. Out of a few dentists, nobody let me do the deed. It was a tough task but, nonetheless, a challenge which I was happy to be a part of.

Questionnaire comprising of questions like the number of times brushing should be done in a day, the time it should be done for, the brands of toothpaste and toothbrush used, if the toothpaste they used contained fluoride, if other method(s) were used for cleaning the teeth, use of mouth, eating habits, any oral treatment done, etc. In total there were seventeen questions asked from the dentists and the patients (control group). At the end of the form, there was a Silness-Loe Index printed to score the dentists and the patients’ oral hygiene.

50 dentists were questioned and examined and the same numbers of patients were used as a control. Once the details were collected, information was compiled in the computer to sum up the result. MS Excel was used for it. Chi tests were performed.

First, an‘observed’ data was entered in MS Excel for questionnaire. Then, an ‘expected’ data was used to get the chi test performed by the computer. The questionnaire result was as follows:

Satisfactory on the graph stands for; if a proper hygiene was practiced, while unsatisfactory means the vice versa.

The result deduced by this survey was that dentists, indeed, practice what they preach. As this research was done entirely in LCMD, survey on this topic should be done in other colleges too, so that majority of dentists can be evaluated.

This research was then made into a poster and presented in Pakistan Dental Association 10th international 30th National Dental Congress, where I won a special prize for the poster competition.

September 5, 2013

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