Oral care considerations for people with cystic fibrosis: a cross-sectional qualitative study

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Coffey, Niamh
O'Leary, Fiona
Burke, Francis
Plant, Barry
Roberts, Anthony
Hayes, Martina
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Springer Nature Switzerland AG
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Objectives: To investigate the attitudes of adults with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) towards dental attendance and any perceived barriers to treatment. Methods: A cross sectional survey in the form of a structured, anonymous questionnaire was used to obtain information regarding adults with CF’s feelings towards dentists and dental treatment. The final version of the questionnaire was based on a collaborative effort between researchers at Cork University Dental School and Hospital and Cystic Fibrosis (CF) patient advocates from CF Ireland. Participants were recruited via CF Ireland’s mailing list and social media channels. The responses underwent descriptive statistical analysis and inductive thematic analysis. Results: A total of 71 people (33 Male: 38 Female) over the age of 18 living with CF in the Republic of Ireland responded to the survey. 54.9% of respondents were unhappy with their teeth. 63.4% felt that CF had an impact on oral health. 33.8% were anxious about attending their dentist. Respondents believed that CF has impacted on their oral health due to the medications and dietary requirements involved, as well as tiredness and other side effects of CF. Reasons for being anxious about attending the dentist included cross infection concerns, issues with the dentist, with tolerating treatment, and with the teeth themselves. Respondents wanted dentists to be aware of the practicalities of dental treatment for people with CF, especially their discomfort with lying back. They also want the dentist to be aware of the impact that their medication, treatment and diet has on their oral health. Conclusions: Over one third of adults with CF reported anxiety about attending the dentist. Reasons for this included fear, embarrassment, cross infection concerns and problems with treatment, especially being in the supine position. Adults with CF want dentists to be aware of the impact that CF can have upon dental treatment and oral health care.
Oral care , Cystic fibrosis
Coffey, N., O’Leary, F., Burke, F., Plant, B., Roberts, A. and Hayes, M. (2023) 'Oral care considerations for people with cystic fibrosis: a cross-sectional qualitative study', BDJ Open, 9, 11(6pp). doi: 10.1038/s41405-023-00136-w
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