Dental undergraduate students’ knowledge, attitudes and practices in oral health self-care: A survey from a South African university
Background. Dental students are seen as role-models for promoting good oral health behaviour, yet there is little published evidence in South Africa (SA) that describes student knowledge and attitudes towards their own oral healthcare.
Objective. To investigate undergraduate dental therapy and oral hygiene students’ knowledge and attitudes towards their self-care practices and the perceived influence of the dental curriculum on these practices.
Methods. This was a descriptive survey of 64 undergraduate dental students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, SA. A self-administered questionnaire was used for data collection.
Results. Fifty-two respondents returned the completed questionnaires, yielding an 81% response rate. Almost all respondents (n=30; 96.8% (2nd-year students), and n=21; 100% (3rd-year students)) indicated the use of toothpaste and toothbrush to clean their teeth. Most respondents reported cleaning their teeth from 1 to 5 minutes, with 52% (n=27) reporting 1 - 2 minutes and 42% (n=22) 3 - 5 minutes. Only three respondents reported cleaning their teeth for >5 minutes (n=3; 6%). Other practices included the use of toothpicks (n=12; 23%), dental floss (n=42; 81%), and interdental brushes (n=5; 10%). Almost all respondents (n=50; 96%) indicated the use of commercially available mouth rinses. All 2nd-year students (n=30) and 90% of 3rd-year students (n=18) agreed that exposure to clinical training increased their awareness of self-care practices.
Conclusion. Respondents reported good knowledge and practice of oral health self-care, but there were inconsistencies in these practices. Respondents also agreed that the dental undergraduate curriculum did influence their knowledge and oral health self-care practices.
Copyright remains in the Author’s name. The work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial Works License. Authors are required to complete and sign an Author Agreement form that outlines Author and Publisher rights and terms of publication. The Agreement form should be uploaded along with other submissions files and any submission will be considered incomplete without it [forthcoming].
Material submitted for publication in the AJHPE is accepted provided it has not been published or submitted for publication elsewhere. Please inform the editorial team if the main findings of your paper have been presented at a conference and published in abstract form, to avoid copyright infringement. The AJHPE does not hold itself responsible for statements made by the authors. The corresponding author should also indicate if the research forms part of a postgraduate short report, dissertation or thesis.
Previously published imagesIf an image/figure has been previously published, permission to reproduce or alter it must be obtained by the authors from the original publisher and the figure legend must give full credit to the original source. This credit should be accompanied by a letter indicating that permission to reproduce the image has been granted to the author/s. This letter should be uploaded as a supplementary file during submission.