Assessment of Harmful Drinking Habits and Delivery of an Appropriate Alcohol-Related Message: Role of the General Dental Practitioner


Alcohol is a significant global public health problem and is the 3rd largest risk factor for premature mortality, disability and loss of health. There is a strong correlation between alcohol and oral cancer. Despite improved outcomes for many other cancers the five-year survival rate for oral cancer remains poor. As such targeting any potential preventive measures, including raising awareness of alcohol as a risk factor, is essential.

A key strategy to tackle alcohol misuse is to encourage all healthcare professionals to take an active role in identifying excessive consumption and to then provide appropriate advice. Primary care dentists have a legitimate role to play in delivering such advice.

This PhD aimed to explore the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of primary care dentists toward delivery of alcohol related advice, identifed barriers and facilitators in delivering such advice and developed and piloted a theory informed intervention to support dentists deliver appropriate advice in the primary care setting.

Current Status


Relevant Publications

Shepherd, S., Young, L., Clarkson, JE., Bonetti, D., Ogden, GR. 2010. ‘General dental practitioner views on providing alcohol related health advice; an exploratory study.’ British Dental Journal, 208:E13

Shepherd, S., Bonetti, D., Clarkson, JE., Ogden, GR., Young, L. 2011. ‘Current practices and intention to provide alcohol-related health advice in primary dental care.’ British Dental Journal, 211:E14

PhD Student

Mr Simon Shepherd, BDS, MDSc, MFDS, RCS Edinburgh, Dundee Dental Hospital and School.


Professor Jan Clarkson, University of Dundee, NHS Education for Scotland; Professor Graham Ogden, University of Dundee.


Dr Linda Young, SDPBRN, NHS Education for Scotland.

Further details of this study pilot are available on the University of Dundee, Dental Health Services Research Unit website.