Purpose: To study barriers to providing oral health education (OHE) to their patients among Mongolian dentists. Subjects and Methods: A questionnaire survey was carried out in 2000 among practising dentists (n = 250) in the capital city of Mongolia. The response rate was 98%. Barriers to OHE were measured by six statements describing problems that might interfere with dentists OHE activities and attitudes towards it by a statement about its importance; all answers were rated on a 5-point Likert scale (strongly agree-strongly disagree). Self-perceived competency in providing OHE was measured by means of a 4-point scale of competency (very to not at all competent) and preventive knowledge by 14 statements related to preventive dentistry. Dentists work-related backgrounds were work experience in years, type of practice (state or private) and field of practice (general practice or speciality field). Statistical evaluation was carried out by chi-square test and logistic regression analysis. Results: Poor appreciation of OHE by patients (85%) followed by insufficient teaching materials (73%) and time constraint due to the huge demand for curative care (59%) were the most commonly agreed-upon barriers. Concerning their attitudes towards and competency in providing OHE, 88% of the dentists agreed that OHE should be statutory, and 85% perceived themselves at least quite competent. Dentists years of work experience were positively, but preventive knowledge score negatively associated with their agreeing about barriers to OHE activities. Conclusion: Despite appreciation of OHE, Mongolian dentists seem to face practical barriers to providing OHE activities.
Keywords: oral health education, health promotion, dentists, Mongolia