Utilisation of oral health services among adolescent girls
Background: Access to oral health care is critical to prevent oral disease as well as to identify oral health problems early and prevent disease progression where it already exists. Health features among children and adolescents are more closely related to the mother than to the father. When oral health services are not obtained, adolescent girls may be omitting vital preventive oral health screening and education. The adolescent girl is a future mother, so evaluating her utilization of oral health services could help to design programs that promote oral health awareness and encourage routine dental visits. This study therefore aims at evaluating the utilization of oral health services among adolescent girls.
Methods: This was a cross sectional study of adolescent girls attending secondary schools in the immediate vicinity of a tertiary health facility that provides dental services. The research tool was a pre-tested self-administered questionnaire. The data so obtained was analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 17.0. Analysis was done using frequency distribution, cross tabulations, test of significance with chi square. P< 0.05 considered statistically significant.
Results: A total of 443 participants filled and returned the questionnaires. Majority (97.3%) knew who a dentist is. Of all the respondents, 113 (25.5%) had visited a dentist. There was no statistically significant association between parents’ educational status and utilization of oral health services among the respondents. More than three quarters (79.6%) of the respondents that had visited the dentist were satisfied with the treatment they received. The respondents who had never visited a dentist gave several reasons why they had not, with having no dental problem (77.0%) as the most frequent reason.
Conclusion: Although females tend to utilize health facilities more, there is a low utilization of oral health facilities among adolescent girls.
Keywords: utilization, adolescent, girls, oral health, low income economy