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Ciência & Saúde Coletiva

On-line version ISSN 1678-4561Print version ISSN 1413-8123


GOMES, Doris  and  DA ROS, Marco Aurélio. The etiology of carie: the construction of a thought-style. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2008, vol.13, n.3, pp.1081-1090. ISSN 1678-4561.

This study deals with the construction of the Odontological Thought Style about the etiology of caries. As a reference we use the theory of Ludwik Fleck (1896 -1961) maintaining that knowledge is a result of social activity and that each individual with certain knowledge belongs to a certain cultural environment, a thought-collective sharing the same thought-style. The sources used for studying the transformations in the theory were classic literature and a universe of 161 articles published between 1980 and 2001, selected from the Medline/Pubmed base using the key words dental caries/etiology/theoretical. Based on the analysis of these articles and books we identified a macro style of thinking characterized as multicausal-biologicist transforming the etiological knowledge mainly since the mid 90s. In this stage, in which the period of classicism of the theory does not respond any more to the reality of the disease revealed in epidemiological studies, five distinct trends could be identified: the biological; the clinical-biological; the clinical-epidemiological; the biopsychosocial and the social. Thus, one of the challenges posed to odontology today is to transform its thought-style adapting it to the new social reality of the disease.

Keywords : Etiology of caries; Fleck; Thought-style.

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