Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Mehta, Sudha Wadhwa

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Home Economics


Nutrition and dental health; Dentist and patient; Preventive dentistry--California--San Diego


Seventy-five general practice dentists from San Diego County participated in the study. Group 1 consisted of 42 dentists with dental school graduation dates between the years of 1975-1980. Group 2 consisted of 33 dentists with graduation dates between the years of 1945-1965. The mean nutrition test score for Group 1 was higher than the mean nutrition test score for Group 2, but due to the small sample size, this difference was not significant. Both groups scored the highest on questions relating to the types of carbohydrates and their effect on the teeth, and the lowest on questions relating to minerals in the diet except for fluoride questions. All the respondents generally expressed favorable attitudes toward nutrition and felt that the dentist has a responsibility to provide nutrition information to patients. However, there was disagreement in both groups on how to offer nutrition education in the dental office, and if the dentist or trained staff member should be the nutrition educator to the patients. There was no significant difference between the nutritional attitude scores of newly graduated dentists (Group 1) and established dentists (Group 2). In this study, nutrition knowledge scores did not correlate with nutrition attitude scores. A slight negative relationship was found between the number of years in practice and the nutrition knowledge scores, and a slightly positive correlation was found between the number of years in practice and the nutrition attitude score, but none of the correlation coefficients were statistically significant. Based on the small sample size of this study, no statistically significant differences in the nutrition knowledge or in the nutrition attitude scores were observed between the two age groups of dentists. It can be concluded that the dentists surveyed have a positive nutrition attitude, but that this attitude is not influencing their actions toward incorporating nutrition education into their dental practices. It may be due to the inadequate preparation of the dentist to accept the job of nutrition educator. Survey results also indicated that younger dentists have not received a more thorough nutrition education in dental schools either.


Includes bibliographical references.


v, 48 pages




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