Journal of International Oral Health

: 2017  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 112--115

Content and design evaluation of Persian web sources related to oral health

Tayebeh Malek Mohammadi1, Somayeh Pourgharib2, Naimeh Hasheminejad3,  
1 Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Institute for Futures Studies in Health, Department of Dental Public Health, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran
2 Medical Informatics Research Center, Institute for Futures Studies in Health, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran
3 Social Determinants on Oral Health Research Center, Department of Dental Public Health, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

Correspondence Address:
Somayeh Pourgharib
Medical Informatics Research Center, Institute for Futures Studies in Health, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman


Aims: Today, obtaining information through the internet and internet-based teaching has become very popular in all fields of science including health and dentistry. Due to the widespread use of these sites, the accuracy of such information is vital. Content evaluation and technical accessibility of these sites have been investigated in many studies. This study was conducted with the aim of assessing the oral health information available on Persian web sources. Materials and Methods: Persian keywords related to dentistry were searched in different search motors and related websites were identified. A validated checklist designed in two parts and fifty items was used for the qualitative and quantitative evaluation and the design and accessibility of the web source. Data were analyzed descriptively using MS Excel software. Results: Overall, 38 Persian web sources related to oral health and dentistry were verified. Among them, ten did not have accessible information and therefore were excluded. The remaining 28 were analyzed. Dental caries, nutrition and oral health, and information on gingival tissue, respectively, composed 75%, 78.6%, and 67.9% of the available content. Technical properties related to design interface showed a help menu in 82.1% of cases. Conclusion: Overall, many dentistry and oral health weblogs and websites were defected, incomplete and not thrust worthy. Due to the excessive use of such websites, this could be a serious warning for the dental society. Delivery of more accurate information by scientific associations is recommended.

How to cite this article:
Mohammadi TM, Pourgharib S, Hasheminejad N. Content and design evaluation of Persian web sources related to oral health.J Int Oral Health 2017;9:112-115

How to cite this URL:
Mohammadi TM, Pourgharib S, Hasheminejad N. Content and design evaluation of Persian web sources related to oral health. J Int Oral Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2023 Dec 1 ];9:112-115
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Worldwide health-related websites are increasingly being used. Moreover, internet-based education in fields of health and oral health has become very popular for many institutes.

Due to the inherent role of oral health in general health and high costs of oral health services, many people are searching for ways to limit costs through receiving free oral health information on the web, therefore, the accuracy and credibility of such information is of great importance.

Consequently, the American Dental Association (ADA) and some other health organizations have some recommendations and guidelines for the evaluation of oral health-related websites.[1],[2],[3],[4],[5]

Despite many studies having used different checklists to evaluate the health content available on the web,[6],[7],[8],[9],[10] a study of this kind has not been carried out to review Persian weblogs. Therefore, to avoid dissemination of unreliable oral health information, scientific, and technical evaluation of oral health-related Persian weblogs seems to be necessary. All in all the aim of this study was to evaluate the qualitative and quantitative properties of oral health-related Persian web sources. The design and accessibility of these websites were also assessed to give a more comprehensive perspective into online oral health information resources.

 Materials and Methods

In this cross-sectional and descriptive study which was conducted during 2014–2015, Persian keywords related to oral health were searched in English and Persian Google search engines. Websites originating from different organizations related to health and oral health were also checked.

Exclusion criteria were set as below:

Websites without educational oral health contentWebsites which had advertising oral health equipment or materialsWebsites which only presented information in PDF format making the design evaluation difficultWebsites which required payment for access.

The URL and address of eligible websites were saved in a “favorite group.” To keep the researcher blind, the list was coded and the code related to each website was treated with a questionnaire for easier access.

For the content evaluation and the design evaluation of websites a validated questionnaire (α Cronbach = 0.75) was used. In the first part of the questionnaire, two calibrated specialist in dental public health (kappa = 0.8) used 25 items to evaluate the quality and quantity of content related to oral health.

The second part of the questionnaire included four parts to evaluate the design feature of each website. This part was carried out by a medical informatics specialist. The four parts related to design evaluation are listed below:

Interface designVisual resources for better understandingGuides and instructions to use web servicesThe presence of a self-evaluation tool.

Data were analyzed descriptively using Excel software (Microsoft Office Excel 2007).


Overall, in years 2014–2015, 38 Persian web sources including weblogs, websites and part of a website were found to be related to oral health. Furthermore, ten websites were excluded because they did not have accessible information and the evaluation was conducted for the remaining 28 websites.

Among them, twenty were personal/professional websites. Content posting date and website updating time was specified in six websites. Furthermore, 21 websites included contact information for users and nine websites provided a feedback or self-evaluation tool.

The most prevalent items in the content checklist were as follows:

Information about dental carries were found in 21 (75%) of cases. Oral health-related nutritional facts were available in 22 (78.6%) of cases and 16 cases delivered information on gingival diseases.

None of the reviewed sites included information on oral disease risk assessment.

[Table 1] shows the frequency and percentage of topics covered by reviewed web sources.{Table 1}

After evaluating the design and technical features of websites, the following results were obtained.

Concerning items related to design interface, a help menu was included in 82% of websites and 82% featured a heading or title for each page.

The presence of downloadable files was the least prevalent item in this part.

[Figure 1] shows the frequency of items related to design and technical features of websites.{Figure 1}

Evaluating the websites visual resources revealed the fact that 67.9% of websites used rich colors with appropriate contrast between background and content and 3.6% presented animations for better understanding.

[Figure 2] shows the frequency of items related to visual resources.{Figure 2}

Only 40.7% of the sites had instruction to use the web content and 39% used video or graphs to support educational subjects.

Finally, among the 28 Persian websites, ten had a self-evaluation tool.


Considering the importance of oral health in general health and the widespread use of weblogs for finding information in this field, the credibility and accuracy of this content was evaluated in Persian oral health-related websites.

The majority of reviewed sites belonged to professional individuals including general dentists and specialists in different fields. Most of the available content had commercial purposes and were related to treatment. Results obtained from English sites were somehow different. They were mostly related to governmental organizations and academic centers.[10]

Although dental caries, gingival disease and nutritional facts related to oral health were the most predominant content, areas of prevention were not well-defined.

Moreover, most content were offered in a conventional format and the use of animated pictures, films, and images were rare. Many studies have agreed that this type of education is not effective in raising motivation for behavior change.[11]

The use of epidemiologic facts and related statistics helps us introduce severity, prevalence, and importance of dental and oral disease in a more effective way.[12]

In this study, only 18% of the reviewed websites mentioned oral health related epidemiologic facts and therefore still remain incomplete regarding this matter.

The importance of oral health education, especially the use of toothbrush and dental floss is undeniable. Unfortunately, only 50% of Persian websites included guides related to this topic, and only 3.6% of them used visual aids for better teaching.

As for content related to dental caries, a prevalence of 64% was observed. This was similar to Kim et al.'s study regarding English websites.[10]

Similar to other research, very few websites provided information about atraumatic restorative treatment and the social and cultural aspects of oral health.[10]

Considering extensive research in medicine and health, use of evidence-based documents is essential. In this study, only 21% of the reviewed oral health information were evidence-based or offered with a valid reference.

Other similar studies separately gave a score to every reviewed web source.

In this study, website names were kept confidential and obtaining consent from each was not possible. Therefore, a descriptive analysis according to the presence and absence of checklist items was carried out. Furthermore, a detailed comparison with other studies regarding technical features was impractical.

Overall, most present items were quantitative and mostly related to interface design, whereas the application of visual sources including pictures, animation, and films was inadequate.

According to similar studies on English oral health web sources, a clinical anticipatory guidance was present in most weblogs, whereas in Persian weblogs none existed.[9],[10]

All in all Persian weblogs and websites related to oral health were defective in many aspects. With the constant use of the internet for obtaining health information and public reliance on them, this could be a serious warning for the dental population, medical associations and oral health groups.

Although research related to this field were few most studies show a lack of reliable and practical information.

Guides listed below are recommended for the design and increased quality of offered content related to health weblogs:

ADA guides for the design of educational soft wares [13]Health on the net [14]The quality criteria for electronic publications in medicine [15]Development of standards for the design of educational software.[16]

Unfortunately, no specific guideline exists for oral health evaluation and design evaluation of Persian oral health websites. Therefore, we recommend that guidelines be published by academic centers and oral health departments in Persian so that credibility of available information on the web could be evaluated according to specific criteria. Furthermore, this could be a base for future conducting of valid and trustworthy web sources for public use.

There were limitations to this study. Our attempt was to cover all Persian web sources related to oral healthy, Therefore, a wide range of related keywords was used, but still some many have been unconsciously missed. Moreover, access to many others was not allowed. Therefore, we recommend further studies to include more relevant websites.

Evaluation of Persian oral health web sources proved them to be defective and incomplete and not credible in many ways. Therefore, dental associations should give special attention to this matter. Also with the major present gaps regarding technical design and web accessibility, corporation with dental informatics groups seems necessary.

Financial support and sponsorship

The study was supported financially by a grant from Medical Informatics Research Center. The authors wish to sincere thanks to Dr Kambiz Bahaadini for his help and comments on the study design.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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