Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

Department name when degree awarded


Committee Chair(s)

Arthur W. Mahoney


Arthur W. Mahoney


Deloy Hendricks


Frances Taylor


Paul Carter


A considerable amount of research has been conducted concerning the characteristics of people who are in favor of fluoridation. However, there is little information available as to what the electorate really knows about fluoride when they are forced to vote on this scientific issue.

Thus, the objectives of this study were to determine the general public's level of knowledge about fluoride, to discover what sources of information have been the greatest influence on their opinion and knowledge about fluoride, and to estimate the level of participation of dentists, general practitioners, pediatricians, and gynecologists in the education of Utahns about the use of fluoride as related to human health.

The results of this investigation revealed that the general public greatly lacks the necessary information about fluoride to vote intelligently upon the issue of fluoridation. Television, dentists, magazines, and newspapers respectively were found to have the greatest influence on the public's opinion and knowledge about fluoride. It was also determined that 68 percent of the dentists practicing in Utah provide dental health education for their patients, but that their programs are not as effective as they could be. In addition, even though 80 percent of the pediatricians, general practitioners, and gynecologists practicing in Utah are involved in educating their patients about fluoride, the general public does not consider the physician as a major source of information about fluoride.

A statistical analysis of the data from the knowledge questionnaire revealed a significant relationship between education, age, sources of information and level of knowledge about fluoride.



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