Purpose: To evaluate the knowledge, opinions, and behaviours of physicians in the field of internal medicine and gynecology regarding periodontal disease and its systemic implications.
Methods: A questionnaire was distributed by hand and via e-mail to internists and gynecologists working in hospitals and community clinics. The questionnaires included items regarding personal and professional status, subject-related characteristics, dental history and knowledge in periodontal medicine. All completed questionnaires were reviewed and analysed according to discipline and personal experience. Statistical differences were tested using the chi-squared analysis.
Results: A total of 97 questionnaires were reviewed and included 56 internists and 41 gynecologists. The mean age was 39.7 years (range 29-82) and the percentage of females was 54%. Overall, general knowledge regarding periodontitis differed significantly between internists and gynecologists (80% vs 32% correct answers per group, respectively). Nearly 60% of responders (both internists and gynecologists) knew the correct cause of periodontal disease. Although half of the responders had personal experience in the field of periodontology, this experience was not noticeable regarding their knowledge in periodontal medicine. The majority of responders (58%) agreed that there is a need for more periodontal education in general medicine.
Conclusions: The present study indicates a clear lack of knowledge of both internists and gynecologists regarding periodontitis and its systemic complications. Personal periodontal experience did not change the degree of familiarity with periodontal medicine.