Objective: To identify salient beliefs of general dental practitioners (GDPs) regarding their role in the identifi cation 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 confi - dence 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.
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