Exploring the feasibility of general health promotion in UK dental primary care: ENGAGE in Scotland

Debbie Bonetti (Lead / Corresponding author), Linda Young, Laura Hempleman, Jacqui Deas, Simon Shepherd, Janet Clarkson

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Introduction: Despite UK dental guidance recommending opportunistic health promotion, it's rare for GDPs to discuss more than oral hygiene with their patients. The ENGAGE intervention incorporates UK guidance and evidence-based behaviour change techniques to motivate patients to make lifestyle changes (reduce smoking, alcohol consumption and/or improve diet). It was designed to take less than five minutes and be delivered during a routine dental check-up, and includes a take-home patient handout signposting to free NHS lifestyle counselling helpline services. Aims To determine the feasibility (patient and GDP acceptance) of implementing ENGAGE in Scottish dental primary care. The overall aim is to examine feasibility UK-wide before testing its effectiveness for influencing patient outcomes in a multi-centre UK trial. Methods Study 1: patient survey: N = 1000 adults from all health boards in Scotland were randomly selected from an NHS data base of medical patients and emailed the study invitation and link to an online questionnaire. Study 2: GDP workshop, audit, survey: N = 50 GDPs across Scotland were invited to participate in the training workshop (limited to the first 20 applicants), implement the intervention with their next 20 adult patients in for a check-up, audit their experience, then complete an online questionnaire. Results Study 1: 200 people completed the survey (52% male; 37% were 55 years or younger; 90% had visited their dentist in the previous 12 months). Less than (<) 15% were asked about their smoking, alcohol intake and/or diet when they last visited their dentist for a check-up; <10% would be embarrassed/offended if their dentist or dental hygienist asked them lifestyle questions during a dental check-up; more than (>) 70% would be reassured by the professionalism of their dentist or dental hygienist if they were asked; <4% would be embarrassed/offended if given a leaflet with NHS helpline information by their dentist. Study 2: N = 18 GDPs from nine out of 14 NHS regional health boards in Scotland delivered the ENGAGE intervention to 335 patients (averaging 18 patients each). N = 17/18 participants agreed that this intervention could be delivered during a check-up, was an improvement on what they currently did and thought that it may make a difference to what their patients thought, felt, and/or did about reducing health risk. Conclusion The ENGAGE intervention is feasible to implement in Scottish dental primary care. Comments from patient and GDP participants will inform its development and further feasibility studies set in other UK regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)645-656
Number of pages12
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry


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