Scientific and Traditional Knowledge in Odontology


Introduction: We present the results of scientific and traditional knowledge, which were performed on students attending the School of Dental Surgery at the Faculty of Higher Studies Zaragoza UNAM and parents in the Milpa Alta policy delegation of the Federal District with the purpose to articulate such knowledge for planning oral health programs where the protection and promotion of oral health are prioritized. Method: This study was qualitative and quantitative, and 413 students of the career Dentist Faculty of Higher Studies Zaragoza UNAM and 2100 parents of twelve elementary school of the Milpa Alta delegation participated. Results: One of the results was that almost a third (28%) of the students go to the dentist only when they need to, however 40% of parents said they go to consultation only when they start to experience pain. Conclusion: It is important to articulate scientific knowledge with the traditional and famed in Odontology, for the operation alization of health programs attached to particular contexts where all stakeholders are involved to prevent oral problems.

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del Pilar Adriano, M. , Joya, T. , Malinowski, N. and Adriano, P. (2014) Scientific and Traditional Knowledge in Odontology. Open Journal of Stomatology, 4, 358-371. doi: 10.4236/ojst.2014.47050.

1. Introduction

The notions of knowledge and understanding, scope and functions have changed along the history [1] . This is demonstrated by the interpretation of the various phenomena that come up from the origin of man prevailed where the magic-religious determination and generating proposals for their solution [2] .

During the Middle Age, esoteric and spiritualized knowledge prevailed, that is to say, it was integrated notions close near to religion. The transcendent and spiritualized knowledge was considered superior to any other, for its quality of direct revelation from a legitimate and legitimizing external source: the Creator, since the exclusion of knowledge becomes one of the characteristics of Western culture [1] .

The rupture between traditional and spiritualized knowledge with scientific ones rests with the new forms of life in the seventeenth century with René Descartes [3] and legitimization of scientific knowledge from Reason.

In the twentieth century the trend of knowledge exclusion is legitimized by the ideal of objectivity and they are marginalized including traditional or folk. In recent years it has been developing a whole theoretical proposal which aims at the integration of knowledge in which a correlation of these values and the inclusion of there.

Science has become contested terrain both epistemic and political; there has been a lot of “colonial” campaigns who have tried to tell the truth about the health and illness of individuals and more recently of collectivity from different ideologies and domains of scientificity. However, with the crisis of modernity, we have begun to understand (or rather, we remembered) that health is not an object that can be confined to a single discipline and that the fragmentary logic of modern science often put us away from any possibility to understand health in its inherent complexity [4] .

According to Nicolas Malinowski [5] , science and knowledge production are strongly marked by vertical mechanisms of thought; scientist posture is characterized by a marked self-sufficiency which denigrates nonacademic views, considered irrational and ignorant, this position of reject of nonscientific knowledge is shared by the public authorities within a technocratic perspective of his work. The knowledge is revealed to be as legitimate and valid as scientific ones and should be considered as complementary.

Carlos Delgado [6] considers that the dialogue between knowledge is necessary to reorganize our paradigm, by changing mindsets, behaviors and ways of thinking and working.

“Although emergencies of the present favor consensus about dialogue of knowledge, they are not sufficient, neither the willingness of the partners, or the existence of a rational basis for a thoughtful dialogue, consensus and intention to overcome the domination relations in a common effort to find solutions to urgent, they are not sufficient to ensure by themselves an effective and fruitful dialogue. Dialogue does not mean only knowledge or fundamentally, grouping, sharing and integration of knowledge. Dialogue is not only required, to solve urgent problems. It is required to reorganize knowledge, produce by changing mindsets, behaviors, ways of thinking and working. That is the significance of the dialogue of knowledge understood in the context of the problem of the organization of knowledge. In practical terms, this means a vital challenge as we face our own horizons of understanding and action.”

This represents a challenge as it necessitates we face our own horizons of understanding and action, we need to think the bases supporting the way of thinking that has contributed to the problems we want to solve today using integrative thinking.

The dialogue is just meeting, recognition of the others, knowing with knowledge and understanding that communities are also builders of knowledge. It goes beyond mere classification in a common or scientific and popular knowledge, holding inequality. It is the statement and claim that when we meet, both become knowledge builders [7] .

Knowledge dialogue in Odontology represents a very intellectual challenge to be understood as a process of communication between stakeholders with scientific knowledge and social actors with traditional or popular ones, to make possible an articulation between both types of knowledge, with respect and mutual transformation.

With dialogue we recognize the other as an actor and respect his ability to build knowledge [8] .

Knowledge dialogue requires that the educator has a permanent reflective attitude to understand his role in this web of stresses and strains. As part of this reflective process come the dialogic considerations to have on humans, culture and scientific knowledge [9] . Education is an act of love, and therefore, an act of courage, dialogue cannot be afraid by debate; does not impose, does not dictate ideas, does not work on the learner, but works with him [10] .

We must consider knowledge dialogue in odontology as a part of health promotion. Let’s understand a complex process with respect to culture, values, symbols, traditions, where there is an empowerment of social actors on the understanding knowledge of the determinants of oral health and disease [11] [12] . The odontologist must not intervene in communities imposing his knowledge, but rather promote dialogue with the population under study, listen, respect and recognize the population, who interpret and express their meanings about dental problems and present how to resolve their problems, since they are owners of their own knowledge.

The health-disease process from an Epidemiological point of view [13] [14] is the result of a set of determinants that work in a concrete society and produce in different groups apparition of risks or characteristic potentials, which in turn are manifested in the form of profiles or patterns of illness or health, of which oral health is an integral part.

The dialogue of knowledge on oral health-disease process is not intended to make the other think or act in a certain way, but it is based on respect and strengthening the autonomy. It requires respect for differences under a basic consensus: the ability to express freely and without coercion positions, interests, concerns and needs. We must leave behind any dogmatic or paternalistic position and understand that each person is responsible for their own growth and their own actions, because it assumed the other as responsible and free. This involves recognizing the other as an individual, as a person with skills to build their own vision and act with discretion, and as one who finally makes decisions considering its socio-economic and cultural circumstances and personal characteristics [15] .

In studies on the perception that society has on their health and disease, it is important to consider the proposal of Mechanic on the notion of “acting against the disease” which is useful to observe differentially in as symptoms are perceived and evaluated and how different people act or fail to act. Individuals are able to give meaning and interpret their circumstances according to the time and situation in which they are located [15] .

This point will enable us to understand the way individuals interpret health-mouth disease and the actions to implement in order to change or transform it.

From the qualitative research, the epistemic reality requires a knowing subject, influenced by culture and individual social relations that make epistemic reality depends for its definition, comprehension and analysis, knowledge of the ways of perceiving, thinking, feeling and acting, that are specific to those cognizant. It is assumed in this paradigm that knowledge is a shared construction from the interaction between the researcher and the researched, in which the values mediate or influence the generation of knowledge [16] .

Within these actions we find the curative, in which intervening institutional, health care, private and traditional work, preventive type, are focused on the environment or the individual and the promotion of health which gives priority to the person, the group or society [17] .

Among the studies that attempt to extend the explanatory context of the problems of oral health-disease population we can quote one made in Colombia [18] , with mothers in primary schools about: Oral health, a question of culture? Where addresses this issue from a sociocultural perspective, describes the importance that exists for the different stakeholders on the interpretation of dental treatments that are considered beneficial, the origin of oral problems and institutional responses to address these. We conclude that the perception of oral health is directly related to the culture to which the social actor belongs and resolve their oral health problems in the situation where they are located.

Another ethnographic study that makes a significant relationship between oral health and social and cultural behaviors in the family is held in Venezuela [19] in the year 2006: A study of the habits that influence oral health disease process in a group of mothers from the community of San Isidro was performed. The results of this research were identified by dental situations problematized by mothers that have meaning for the family, the authors involved in the search for solutions, all confined in the context of everyday family life and the relationships that exist with the social environment.

A 1990 study in the city of Nezahualcoyotl [20] , about teacher’s knowledge in primary and secondary schools as well as parents of the same, teachers have information on the etiology of dental caries and the impact on the heart valves, also say that they can potentially cause gastrointestinal problems in individuals toothless due to poor chewing. Relating dental caries and periodontal disease to the impact the rest of the parent body consider that these cause gastrointestinal diseases and infections. Preventive methods used by parents and teachers are brush and toothpaste as well as the burnt tortilla and ash from the stove.

Surely the knowledge dialogue and his articulation is urging in the dental profession, the training of human resources, knowledge production and production services, to expand the explanatory frameworks of oral health disease process where we find problems high prevalence such as dental caries, periodontal disease and malocclusion showing increasing needs in the population, the production of services to institutional and private level cannot solve and lore learned from generation to generation, or by common sense whenever you are solving more oral problems.

This study is located within the element of knowledge production that has been considered in Latin America, as an active process, arduous, difficult to develop, understand, conceptualize and therefore often undertaken, and others only in the theory.

2. Method

This study is qualitative-quantitative about the scientific and traditional knowledge that has population study regarding oral health and disease, habits for control, prevention methods that allow us to highlight these services using for resolution. With a convenience sample of 2100 parents of twelve elementary 175 for each of the twelve villages that make up the delegation of Milpa Alta located in the City of Mexico, 2100 in total; and 413 students from the Odontology’s Career Faculty of Zaragoza in the UNAM. To carry out this study we meet the parents with whom they talked about the objective of the polland that the results would serve to develop a program specific protection and other promotion of oral health in children, with the aim of reducing dental caries met in 50% and generate in them a culture of oral health, for which a questionnaire was developed with nine questions, with two of which are open and seven closed, about the cause (knowledge), prevention and service demanded to solve their dental problems. A parent is sent home prior information questionnaire written its objectives and those who responded and were returned with their children to primary formed this sample.

Subsequently students career Dentist FES-Zaragoza, we applied the same questionnaire in their classrooms prior classes explaining its objectives and those it answered voluntarily formed the sample of 413 students from the four years-career.

Regarding to the open questions, responses were concentrated according to integrative concepts and retaining only those with one answer. With regard to closed question, we only recorded only responses with percentages.

3. Results

This study involved 413 students in the career of Dental Surgery, 104 from the first year, 105 the second, 103 in third year and 101 in fourth year. And 2100 parents of twelve public elementary schools in the Milpa Alta delegation. Then sequentially we analyze the responses from different audiences to questions.

The first question is: How often you visit a Dentist? 65 students (16%) responded they go to the dentist once a year, 223 (54%), of them every six months, 9 (2%), 116 (28%) never had gone or only when the need. (Question 1)

49% of parents said go every six months to a year, and 40% visit it only when you have pain, it is important to note that 4% of the parents interviewed had never gone to the dentist. (Question 1)

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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