20% of Canadians are hypertensive with approximately 200,000 new cases each year. Early detection of hypertension affects outcomes, reducing the risk for heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, and dementia. Screening strategies are required to identify the more than one third of Canadians with unrolled high blood pressure, in particular, younger men unaware of their condition, women over sixty years old, and underserved groups.
A collaborative practice model linking dentists to other healthcare providers in a reporting network is a promising model for hypertension detection and management. There are 20,129 licensed dentists in Canada who graduate with the ability to measure blood pressure, and 74% of the population visits a dentist each year. This represents an opportunity, but information is required on Dental attitudes toward screening for hypertension before attempting to initiate a screening model. To engage dentists in hypertension detection requires an understanding of the practice environment and the factors that shape their beliefs, attitudes and behaviours regarding routine hypertension screening in their practices.