Fluoride on the Internet: Content analysis of web-pages from the Google search engine.
Objectives/background: This study aimed at providing more knowledge about what kind of information is available to people when looking for information about fluoride on the Internet. Methods: The search engine Google was used to search for web-pages written in the period 1997-2016, with the keyword "fluoride teeth". Top 10 web-pages that were written in each of the specified years were analyzed according to a set of pre-selected parameters, including whether the content was positive or negative with regards to dental fluoride. The language of selected web-pages was also analyzed with regards to emotional content. Results: We found more positive web-pages (67.2%) than negative (22.2%) in the search period. There were significantly more positive web-pages (χ2(1) = 10,790, p < .001) the last four years (2013-2016) than the first four years (1997-2000). There is a difference in the types of fluoride supplements in pages that are positive versus negative with a higher frequency of “other fluoride supplements” in positive web-pages, and “water fluoridation” in negative web- pages. More negative emotional words were found in web-pages categorized as negative compared to the positive web-pages. Conclusion: This study has shown that the majority of top-rated web-pages found on Google are positive towards oral fluoride supplements, and more positive pages are found in recent years. Also, emotional language appears to be different between pages that are positive versus negative to dental fluoride. More research is needed in order to find out the potential real-life impact of these findings.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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