BACKGROUND AND AIM: Studies have confirmed a strong association between periodontal disease (PD) and diabetes mellitus (DM). Treatment of DM is in the field of internists. This study aimed to assess the knowledge, attitude, and performance of Iranian internists regarding the relationship of DM and PD.
METHODS: In this cross-sectional study, a questionnaire comprising of five domains and 34 questions was utilized (12 questions regarding demographics, 2 questions regarding the need for continuing education courses on oral health for physicians, 5 questions about knowledge, 12 questions about attitude, and 3 questions about the performance of physicians regarding the association of PD and DM). This questionnaire has been previously used in a study conducted in North Carolina, United States of America. The questionnaire was translated to Persian and its validity and reliability were confirmed. Next, 134 internists participating in a national congress filled out the questionnaire. The response rate was 97%. Data were analysed using the linear regression model in SPSS software.
RESULTS: The mean and standard deviation (SD) of score of knowledge, attitude, and performance of internists was 57 ± 26, 61 ± 12, and 37 ± 28, respectively, out of one hundred. Among the participants, 96% emphasized on the significance of cooperation with dentists in management of patients with DM and 81% of them confirmed the need for periodontal examination training for physicians. The total score of performance was significantly higher in internists with academic positions (β = 0.177, P = 0.047), older age (β = 0.234, P = 0.011), higher mean weekly working hours (β = 0.185, P = 0.043), and those who had passed a course regarding clinical, dental, and periodontal examination as part of their educational curricula (β = 0.190, P = 0.035).
CONCLUSION: This study showed that internists had low level of knowledge and performance regarding the relationship of PD and DM. This casts light on importance of enrichment of the educational curriculum and continuing medical educations in this regard.