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
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 7 Apr 2021

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