Khalifa S Al-Khalifa, Rasha AlSheikh, Yaser A Alsahafi, Atheer Alkhalifa, Shazia Sadaf, Saud A Al-Moumen, Yasmeen Y Muazen, Ashwin C Shetty
Background: Twitter is a powerful platform which could be used to reflect on the demand and supply of dental services during a pandemic. The aim of this study was to examine the nature and dissemination of COVID-19 information related to dentistry on Twitter platform Arabic database during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Methodology: One hundred and fifty independent searches with a combination of keywords for both COVID-19 and dentistry from a preselected Arabic keyword were carried out for the period from the 2nd of March (first confirmed cases of COVID-19) to the 6th of July 2020. Tweets were filtered to remove duplicate and unrelated tweets. The suitable tweets were 1,150. After calibration, two examiners coded the tweets following two main themes: COVID-19 and oral health-related information. Tweets were then compared with COVID-19 daily events in the Arab countries as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO). Descriptive analysis was performed to present the overview of the findings using Microsoft Excel.
Results: The most retweeted information was the help with urgent consultation or emergency dental treatment during COVID-19 tweeted by a dentist. There were 673 retweets and 1,116 likes of this tweet. The most common tweets related to oral health were needs of dental treatment (n=462, 39.5%) of which, toothaches or wisdom tooth problems constituted 48% of the related tweets.
Conclusion: Based on the results of this study, it is obvious that social media users reacted to the COVID-19 threat to dental practices. Twitter as one of the social media platforms served as a connection between dental health professionals and patients.
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