International Dental Journal 2013; 63: 26–29     ORIGINAL ARTICLE                                                         ...
Health problemspractitioners and specialists) working in three cities         dentists in the public sector than in the pr...
Hashim and Al-Aliprevalence    of   cardiovascular   disease   and   sex    prevalence of dentists who reported smoking is...
Health problemsCONCLUSION                                                              6. Gonzalez YM. Occupational diseas...
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Health of dentists in united arab emirates idj12000

  1. 1. International Dental Journal 2013; 63: 26–29 ORIGINAL ARTICLE doi: 10.1111/idj.12000Health of dentists in United Arab EmiratesRaghad Hashim* and Khalid Al-AliAjman University of Science and Technology, Ajman, UAE.Objectives: The aims of this study were to investigate the prevalence and nature of some health and lifestyle problemsamong dentists in United Arab Emirates (UAE). Method: A cross-sectional study with a one-stage complex samplingtechnique using a self-reported questionnaire distributed to all 844 dentists, working in three cities (Abu Dhabi, Dubaiand Sharjah) in UAE. Results: Seven hundred and thirty-three (87%) dentists, aged 22–70 years, responded. More thanhalf (n = 442, 61%) of dentists do not exercise regularly. Around one-seventh of the dentists are smokers. One hundredand eighteen dentists (16%) reported having some known systemic problem. The most common systemic health prob-lems were cardiovascular diseases (n = 56, 8%). Conclusion: The present study indicates that the prevalence of exerciseamong dentists in UAE is relatively low and some systemic health problems, especially cardiovascular diseases, are pres-ent among dentists practicing in UAE. Cigarette consumption is relatively high in this population of dentist. Furthercontinuing education and investigation of the appropriate intervention to improve rates of exercise and reduce the levelof smoking among dentists in UAE is needed, and this may help reduce the level of systemic disease.Key words: Health, exercise, smoking, dentists, UAEDentistry can be a stimulating and rewarding occupa- This study was designed to investigate the prevalencetion but is also physically and mentally demanding1. and nature of some health and lifestyle problems ofIt has been suggested that dentists lack awareness and dentists in UAE, including occupational issues thatknowledge about managing their stress2–4. The most relate to exercise, cigarette smoking and systemic dis-common stressors reported include time-related pres- eases.sure, heavy workloads, financial concerns, anxiouspatients, staff problems, poor working conditions, METHODSmedical emergencies in the surgery and the routinenature of the job2,5. Failure to adapt to or contend The present study was approved by the ethics commit-with the working environment can predispose to ill- tee of Ajman University of Science and Technologyness6. The most frequent causes of premature retire- (AUST), the General Authority for Health Services forment among dentists are musculoskeletal disorders the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, Department of Health and(29.5%), cardiovascular disease (21.1%) and neurotic Medical Services of government of Dubai, and Minis-symptoms (16.5%), as reported by Burke et al.7; try of Health in UAE. This research was conducted intherefore, practicing dentists should be aware of these full accordance with the World Medical Associationillnesses and take steps to avoid them, especially mus- Declaration of Helsinki and written consents wereculoskeletal problems and cardiovascular disease7. obtained from all participants in this study.Despite anecdotal evidence of these conditions, little The questionnaire used in this study consists of 21has been published on systemic problems specifically closed-ended questions that provided information onin relation to dentists. individual characteristics such as age, gender, marital Self-awareness and the benefits of regular exercise status, number of years since graduation and numberare important needs. Various studies have recorded of hours worked per week. Furthermore, informationself-perceived health and health-related behaviours of on a range of health issues of dentists was sought,dentists in various countries but little is known about including exercise, cigarette smoking and systemicthe health of dentists in United Arab Emirates (UAE). diseases. A total of 844 dentists (general dental26 © 2013 FDI World Dental Federation
  2. 2. Health problemspractitioners and specialists) working in three cities dentists in the public sector than in the private sector(Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah) in both private and (P < 0.05; data not presented).public sectors in UAE were selected for inclusion in As shown in Table 3 more than one-fifth of thethis study. Participants had to have at least 1 year of male dentists are smokers, and there were significantwork experience in the current position to be included differences between regular smoking and genderin the study. (P < 0.05). There was a clear association between The clinics were selected from the membership reg- having systemic disease and regular smokingister of Ministry of Health for emirates of Abu Dhabi, (P < 0.01; data not presented).Dubai and Sharjah. This includes dental clinics, medi- The prevalence of reported systemic problems havecal centres, polyclinics and hospitals. The purpose of been summarized in Table 4. One hundred and eigh-the questionnaire and how the questions should be teen dentists (16%) reported having some known sys-answered was explained and, whenever necessary, fur- temic problem at some time since graduation. Thether information was provided to the participant. The most commonly reported systemic illnesses includedquestionnaires were distributed by the researchers cardiovascular diseases (n = 56, 8%), gastrointestinalbetween July 2005 and February 2006. All the data conditions (n = 38, 5%), neurological symptomsentered into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Data were (n = 14, 2%) and respiratory problems (n = 9, 1%),then transferred into SPSS windows version 11.0 (SPSS with the remainder reporting a variety of differentInc., Chicago, IL, USA) for analysis. The chi-square conditions. There were significant difference in thetest was used were appropriate and the level of statis-tical significance was set at P < 0.05. Univariate and Table 2 Number (percentage) of dentists reported tobivariate analysis were used when appropriate. be exercising regularly and reported reasons for not exercising classified by sexRESULTS Male Female Total n (%) n (%) n (%)This cross-sectional study examined the prevalence of,and some factors associated with, health problems Exercise regularly Yes* 205 (46) 80 (28) 285 (39)among dentists in UAR. Questionnaires were com- No 236 (54) 206 (72) 442 (61)pleted by 733 dentists from Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Total 441 (100) 286 (100) 727 (100)Sharjah from both public and private sectors with a Reasons for not exercising Not a sports person** 24 (5) 30 (10) 54 (7)total response rate of 87%. Missing data were No time** 167 (38) 147 (51) 314 (43)excluded from the analysis. Of the 733 dentists, 445 Too tired** 61 (14) 78 (27) 139 (19)(61%) were male and 288 (39%) were female, with Others 26 (6) 24 (8) 50 (7)an age range of 22–70 years (mean Æ SD *P < Æ 10.3). Background data on age, number of **P < 0.01.years since graduation (or in clinical practice) andworking hours per week are summarized in Table 1. Table 3 Number (percentage) of dentists reportingMale dentist were found to work for longer hours smoking on a weekly basis by sexthan female dentists. More than one-third of the dentists (39%) reported Smoking on a weekly basis Male Female Total n (%) n (%) n (%)exercising on a regular basis (Table 2). Male dentistswere significantly more likely to report exercising on Non-smoker 351 (79) 277 (98) 628 (86)a regular basis (P < 0.05). A variety of reasons for Smoker* 92 (21) 7 (3) 99 (14)not excising regularly were given (Table 2), with the *P < 0.05.most common reason being lack of time (43%). Notexercising on regular basis was more common among Table 4 Prevalence of reported systemic problems by sexTable 1 Age, number of years since graduation and Male Female Totalworking hours by sex n (%) n (%) n (%) Male (n = 445) Female (n = 288) With systemic problem 74 (17) 44 (15) 118 (16) (Mean Æ SD) (Mean Æ SD) Type of systemic problems Cardiovascular* 42 (9) 14 (5) 56 (8)Age (years) 40.8 Æ 9.2 36.4 Æ 7.5 Gastrointestinal 22 (5) 16 (6) 38 (5)Number of years 16.7 Æ 9.2 13.5 Æ 8.1 Symptoms of neurosis 8 (2) 6 (2) 14 (2) since graduation Respiratory problems 4 (1) 5 (2) 9 (1)Working hours 30.5 Æ 15.5 26.6 Æ 14.5 Others 22 (5) 15 (5) 37 (5) per week (hours) *P < 0.05.© 2013 FDI World Dental Federation 27
  3. 3. Hashim and Al-Aliprevalence of cardiovascular disease and sex prevalence of dentists who reported smoking is of par-(P < 0.05). ticular concern; therefore, continuing education in the avoidance of smoking would be beneficial. Further studies are needed to identify the causes of this highDISCUSSION rate of smoking and to identify the appropriate inter-This cross-sectional study examined the prevalence of, ventions that would reduce its prevalence among den-and some factors associated with health problems in tists in UAE.dentists in UAE by means of a self-administered ques- In general, it would be expected that the prevalencetionnaire. To our knowledge, this is the first study to of disease among dentists would be lower comparedreport on health problems among dentists working in with averages from other groups within the popula-UAE. Although the response rate for this study was tion because dentists belong to a higher socioeco-good, one of the major limitations of this type of nomic grouping12,13, and higher socioeconomic statusresearch is that people may not accurately report what affords better dietary habits, better living conditionsthey actually do. and the ability to transform health information into In most studies the dentists are reported to be rel- action14. In this respect, the prevalence of illnessesatively inactive and very few took any form of such as cardiovascular disease, tumours and respira-physical exercise although they acknowledged the tory disease is higher within the general populationbenefits of physical exercise4. The prevalence of than in the dental profession15. The present studyexercise in this population of dentists was relatively shows that around one-sixth of the dentists (16.1%)low, particularly given the relatively high rates of have systemic diseases, and these were mainly cardio-musculoskeletal problems seen in this population8. vascular problems. This percentage is lower than thatThe present investigation showed that only 39% of reported in a study conducted by Leggat et al.9 indentists reported exercising on a regular basis. Simi- Thailand where they found that 27.8% of dentistslar findings were reported in Thailand9. It has been had a systemic diseases.noted that poor general physical fitness has been It was noted that the prevalence of systemic prob-associated with musculoskeletal symptoms. This lems among dentists in the public sector were higherfinding is in line with the study of Leggat et al.9. than among dentists in the private sector. This isConversely, a study conducted in Poland10 reported could be caused by the different position of publicno significant relationship between the practice of sector dentists in the in the workplace hierarchy, withphysical activity and the number of musculoskeletal possibly more stress over work activities compareddisorders. with private practitioners, or it might be attributed to A significant association was found between lack of the fact that dentists in the private sector exerciseregular exercise and the gender of the participant: more regularly. Although a cross-sectional study can-being a female dentist was significantly associated not show causality, the results imply that physicalwith not exercising regularly. The main reason exercise is a buffer against systemic problems. Thisreported for this was lack of time, which could be finding is supported by a study conducted in Fin-attributed to home and family responsibilities. How- land16. Lehto et al.16 suggested that poor generalever, those who reported not exercising regularly physical fitness may be partly responsible for thesebecause of time limitation were working more than problems and there is certainly scope for further35 hours per week. This indicates that those dentists decreasing the prevalence and severity of these prob-could adjust their working time in order to exercise lems by performing regular specific exercises17,18.regularly and improve their physical fitness. Therefore, measures should be investigated to improve In addition, it was noted that dentists working in participation rates in exercise amongst this group ofthe public sector exercised much less regularly than dentists. In addition, male dentists reported havingdentists in the private sector. This might be attributed more systemic problems compared to their female col-to the working times for the dentists. Dentists work- leagues. Notably, the prevalence of systemic diseasesing in the public sector in UAE have a fixed working was higher among smokers and smoking is a well-time for 8 hours continuously, while dentists in the known hazard to health.private sector work on average two 4-hours shifts Consideration of occupational and individual risk(4 hours in the morning and 4 hours in the evening); factors, prevalence, symptoms and consequences oftherefore, they have more a flexible working time these disorders, and implementing the recommendedhealthy lifestyle habits such as exercise. health and safety measures can enable a long and It is surprising that almost 14% of dentists smoke healthy career. It is therefore essential to providein UAE, as this rate of smoking appears to be much background information for dentists regarding thehigher than that reported in other populations of den- magnitude of the problem, particular risk factors andtists1,11, specifically male dentists. This high recommendations for prevention 19.28 © 2013 FDI World Dental Federation
  4. 4. Health problemsCONCLUSION 6. Gonzalez YM. Occupational diseases in dentistry. N Y State Dent J 1998 64: 26–28.The present study indicates that some systemic health 7. Burke FJT, Main JR, Freeman R. The practice of dentistry: anproblems, especially cardiovascular diseases, are pres- assessment of reasons for premature retirement. Br Dent J 1997ent among dentists practicing in UAE. Lack of time 182: 250–254.was cited as the most common reason for dentists not 8. Al-Ali K, Hashim R. Occupational health problems of dentists in the United Arab Emirates. Int Dent J 2012 62: 52–56.exercising, especially among female dentists. Cigarette 9. Leggat PA, Chowanadisai S, Kedjarune U et al. Health of den-consumption was relatively high in this population of tists in southern Thailand. Int Dent J 2001 51: 348–352.dentists. Further continuing educational and investiga- 10. Szymanska J. Disorders of the musculoskeletal system amongtion of appropriate interventions to improve rates of dentists from the aspect of ergonomics and prophylaxis. Annexercise and reduce the level of smoking among den- Agric Environ Med 2002 9: 196–173.tists in UAE is needed, and this may help reduce the 11. Kay EJ, Lowe JC.A survey of stress levels, self-perceived health and health-related behaviours of UK dental practitioners inlevel of systemic diseases. 2005. Br Dent J 2008 204: E19; discussion 622–623. 12. Whitehead M. The health divide. In: Inequality Health. Lon- don: Penguin Books; 1988.Acknowledgement 13. Scully C, Cawson RA, Griffiths M. Mortality and some aspectsThe authors acknowledge all the dentists who partici- of morbidity (ch 1). Occupational Hazards to Dental Staff.pated in this study. This study was not supported or London: British Medical Journal; 1990. p. 1–21.funded by any research grants. 14. Rimpela AH, Pulkinnen PO, Nurminen M et al. Mortality of doctor and doctors’ benefit from their medical knowledge. Lan- cet 1987 1: 84–86.Conflict of interest 15. Balarajan R. Inequalities in health within the health sector. Br Med J 1989 299: 822–825.None declared. 16. Lehto TU, Helenius HYM, Alaranta HT. Musculoskeletal symptoms of dentists assessed by a multidisciplinary approach. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol 1991 19: 38–44.REFERENCES 17. Shrestha BP, Singh GK, Niraula SR. Work-related complaints among dentists. J Nepal Med Assoc 2008 47: 77–81. 1. Ayers KMS, Thomson WM, Newton KC et al. Self-reported occupational health of general dental practitioners. Occup Med 18. Lindfors P, Von Thiele U, Lundberg U. Work characteristics 2009 59: 142–148. and upper extremity disorders in female dental health workers. J Occup Health 2006 48: 192–197. 2. Moore R, Brodsgaard I. Dentist’s perceived stress and it’s rela- tion to perceptions about anxious patients. Community Dent 19. Yamalik N. Musculoskeletal disorders and dental practice Part Oral Epidemiol 2001 29: 73–80. 2: risk factors for dentistry, magnitude of the problem, preven- tion, and dental ergonomics. Int Dent J 2007 57: 45–54. 3. Te Brake JHM, Gorter RC, Hoogstraten J et al. Burnout inter- vention among Dutch dentists: long-term effects. Eur J Oral Sci 2001 109: 380–387. Correspondence to: 4. Janulyte V, Musteikyte M, Bendinskaite R. General health of Dr Raghad Hashim, dentists. Literature review. Br Dent J 2008 204: E19; discussion Head of Growth and Development Department, 622–623. Ajman University, PO Box 346 Ajman, UAE. 5. Myers HL, Myers LB. ‘It’s difficult being a dentist’: stress and health in the general dental practitioner. Br Dent J 2004 197: Email: 89–93.© 2013 FDI World Dental Federation 29