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(Reference retrieved automatically from SciELO through information on FAPESP grant and its corresponding number as mentioned in the publication by the authors.)

Exploring online oral health misinformation: a content analysis

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Author(s):
Matheus LOTTO [1] ; Olivia Santana JORGE [2] ; Maria Aparecida de Andrade Moreira MACHADO [3] ; Thiago CRUVINEL [4]
Total Authors: 4
Affiliation:
[1] Universidade de São Paulo. Bauru School of Dentistry. Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Orthodontics, and Public Health - Brasil
[2] Universidade de São Paulo. Bauru School of Dentistry. Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Orthodontics, and Public Health - Brasil
[3] Universidade de São Paulo. Bauru School of Dentistry. Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Orthodontics, and Public Health - Brasil
[4] Universidade de São Paulo. Bauru School of Dentistry. Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Orthodontics, and Public Health - Brasil
Total Affiliations: 4
Document type: Journal article
Source: Brazilian Oral Research; v. 37, 2023-05-29.
Abstract

Abstract Considering the unfavorable implications of health falsehoods and the lack of dental research into information disorder, this study aimed to identify and characterize online oral health misinformation. A total of 410 websites published in English were retrieved using Google Advanced Search and screened by two independent investigators to compile falsehoods through thematic content analysis. Afterward, 318 pieces of misinformation were consensually divided into four groups concerning their informational interest (G1), financial, psychological, and social interests produced/disseminated by non-dental professionals (G2) or by dental professionals (G3), and political interests (G4). Social media (Facebook and Instagram) and fact-checking tool (Snopes) were also screened to determine the spread of falsehoods by identifying corresponding posts and warnings. As a result, misinformation was mainly associated with gum diseases (12.0%), root canal treatment (11.6%), toothache (10.4%), fluoride (10.4%), and dental caries (9.8%), with a special highlight on recommendations for the usage of natural products, toxicity concerns, and anti-fluoridation propaganda. Additionally, most misinformation was allocated in G3 (41.9%), which presented a statistically higher frequency of financial interests than G4. Finally, falsehoods were considerably identified on Facebook (62.9%) and Instagram (49.4%), especially G3 and G4. Nevertheless, Snopes has debunked only 5.9% of these content items. Therefore, misinformation was predominantly produced or disseminated by dental professionals mainly motivated by financial interests and usually linked to alternative/natural treatments. Although these items were shared on social media, fact-checking agencies seemed to have limited knowledge about their dissemination. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 19/27242-0 - Fake news in health: the validation of a neural network model for detection of disinformation in Pediatric Dentistry through psychophysiological reactions of internet users
Grantee:Matheus Lotto de Almeida Souza
Support Opportunities: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate