General dental practitioner views on providing alcohol related health advice: an exploratory study

S. Shepherd (Lead / Corresponding author), L. Young, J. E. Clarkson, D. Bonetti, G. R. Ogden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Objective To identify salient beliefs of general dental practitioners (GDPs) regarding their role in the identification of alcohol misuse and the provision of an alcohol related health message in the primary dental care setting. 

Method A convenience sample of 12 GDPs practising in the North Highland region of Scotland underwent semi-structured interview. An inductive approach was used with subsequent basic thematic content analysis performed on the transcripts. 

Results GDPs universally agreed that alcohol consumption plays a role in both oral health and general health but this did not translate into effective communication about alcohol during dental consultation. Current knowledge of recommended safe alcohol consumption guidelines was poor - evidence of potential GDP training requirements. The primary barriers related to disruption of the clinician-patient relationship, embarrassment or the perceived irrelevance to the clinical situation. GDPs expressed low confidence in approaching alcohol related problems. 

Conclusions GDPs felt that alcohol based discussions in primary care would not be relevant and would inevitably lead to disruption of the patient-clinician relationship. Further research is necessary to more fully understand the attitudes, behaviour and knowledge of GDPs regarding the provision of alcohol related health advice. The results of this study have informed the design of a paper postal survey for wider distribution.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberE13
Pages (from-to)-
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2010


  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders
  • Alcoholic Intoxication
  • Alcoholism
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Attitude to Health
  • Communication
  • Counseling
  • Dentist-Patient Relations
  • Dentists
  • Education, Dental
  • Female
  • General Practice, Dental
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oral Health
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Scotland


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