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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 7-13

Self-reported differences in oral health attitudes and behaviors of health-care students at a University in Malaysia

1 Department of Oral Diagnosis, School of Dental Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kelantan, Malaysia
2 Department of Conservative Dentistry, Conservative Dentistry Unit, School of Dental Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kelantan, Malaysia

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Tahir Yusuf Noorani
Conservative Dentistry Unit, School of Dental Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 16150 Kubang Kerian, Kelantan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ejgd.ejgd_85_17

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Background: Oral health is a vital part of general health. An individual's perception on oral health is reflected by their oral health attitudes and behaviors. Aim: To determine and compare the oral health attitudes and behaviors of dental, medical, and nursing students at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). Methods: A modified version of Hiroshima University– Dental Behavioural Inventory (HU-DBI)-based questionnaire consisting of 20 items was distributed to all health-care students (n = 1166) of USM. HU-DBI score was calculated using responses to 12 HU-DBI items in the questionnaire. HU-DBI scores of the three groups were compared using one-way ANOVA complemented by Bonferroni test. Scores among preclinical and clinical levels were compared using independent t-test. Chi-square test was used to evaluate the differences in distribution of all items in the HU-DBI survey. Results: Dental students had the highest mean HU-DBI score (7.79 ± 1.58), followed by their nursing (6.99 ± 1.46) and medical (6.42 ± 1.58) counterparts. The mean HU-DBI score for all clinical students (7.04 ± 1.75) was significantly higher than those in their preclinical years (6.64 ± 1.56). Among the 12 HU-DBI items that were used to calculate the HU-DBI scores, items 2, 6, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16 and 19 show significant difference between the distributions of responses within the 3 groups (P < 0.05). Conclusion: Dental students demonstrated better oral health attitudes. However, all our future health-care provider needs to have better attitudes toward oral health. Hence, comprehensive oral health awareness programs need to be incorporated to all health-care students throughout their study programs.

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