Web search engines reveal conflicting information about 'Water Fluoridation

Priyanka Vasantavada Vasantavada, Roy A. Sanderson, Louisa Ells, Vida Zohoori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Aim: To evaluate web search engines’ informational content regarding Community Water
Fluoridation (CWF) when accessed from the UK.
Methods: The search engine result pages (SERPs) regarding CWF from Google were identified, the
content was analysed for themes and sentiments, and Google Trends information on CWF was
examined.
Results: The SERPs were predominantly in favour of CWF. Anti-fluoridation themes were observed
in SERPs that presented the arguments supporting and opposing CWF with equanimity, irrespective
of the quality of scientific evidence. Hence, a web search for CWF yields conflicting information.
Correlation is observed between current affairs and public interest in CWF.
Conclusion: UK residents seeking online CWF advice may experience confusion due to the prevalent
conflicting information, which may influence their decision-making. Dental health professionals,
Public health practitioners and policymakers should strive to improve the information provision on
CWF online.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Early online date10 Feb 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Feb 2022

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