World Journal of Dentistry

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VOLUME 15 , ISSUE 5 ( May, 2024 ) > List of Articles


Influence of Search Engines and Social Media on Dental Patients’ Health Information Seeking: A Cross-sectional Study

Krishna S Kumar, Vineetha Karuveettil, Priya K Nair, Aravind M Shanmugham, Renju Jose, Keerthana Santhosh, Rhea S Varghese, Indu P Sreenivasan

Keywords : Dental health behavior, Health information seeking, Oral health, Oral health information, Search engine, Social media

Citation Information : Kumar KS, Karuveettil V, Nair PK, Shanmugham AM, Jose R, Santhosh K, Varghese RS, Sreenivasan IP. Influence of Search Engines and Social Media on Dental Patients’ Health Information Seeking: A Cross-sectional Study. World J Dent 2024; 15 (5):422-428.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10015-2436

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 28-06-2024

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2024; The Author(s).


Aims and background: The aim of this study is to explore the impact of search engines and social media (SM) use on health information seeking among dental patients, and to assess the impact of health information from search engines and SM on dental health behavior. Materials and methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out by distributing self-administered prevalidated questionnaires to 354 patients reporting to a tertiary dental care hospital in Kochi, Kerala. Study participants in the age-group of 18–60 were included in the study after obtaining informed consent. There were 27 questions included in the questionnaire. Among them, 10 questions assessed the general trend of SM/search engine usage among dental patients seeking oral health information (OHI), while 17 questions assessed the attitude and application towards the information obtained about oral health through SM and search engines. Data was recorded and statistically analyzed using IBM Statistical Package for the Social Sciences Statistics (SPSS) (version 27). Results: The survey involved 354 participants, primarily aged 18–35 (68.6%), with a majority being female graduates (56.5%). Smartphones (91.24%) were their main internet access tool, and SM, especially Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram, played a central role in OHI dissemination. Participants valued accessibility (47.18%) but expressed concerns about online information reliability (44.07%). Most participants found online OHI positively impacting their behavior (65%) and believed that dentists should engage in professional interactions via SM (73.2%). Most of them reported having good oral health (48.9%) and regular dental visits (65.8%). Conclusion: The results indicate a growing reliance on digital platforms, particularly SM, for accessing OHI. While participants appreciate the convenience and cost-effectiveness of online information, concerns regarding its reliability persist. Clinical significance: The study underscores the significant role SM plays in shaping health-seeking behaviors and the importance of healthcare professionals utilizing these platforms for professional interaction with patients. Additionally, it assesses the role of SM and search engine usage in influencing oral health decisions and behaviors, thereby contributing to the development of more effective patient education and intervention strategies in dental care settings.

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