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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 70-73

Oral health awareness among the final year undergraduate nursing students in Khammam district, Telangana

1 Department of Periodontics, Malla Reddy Institute of Dental Sciences, Hyderabad, India
2 Department of Prosthodontics, Malla Reddy Institute of Dental Sciences, Hyderabad, India
3 Department of Periodontics, Mamata Dental College, Khammam, Telangana, India
4 Department of Pedodontics, Panineeya Institute of Dental Sciences, Hyderabad, India

Date of Web Publication24-Mar-2015

Correspondence Address:
Sheetal Chowdary Bolla
#6 1 119/9/1, MCH No. 912, Padmarao Nagar, Secunderabad, Hyderabad - 500 025, Telangana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2394-2010.153891

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Background: Nursing is an important paramedical course and is considered as an essential supplementary branch of medicine. Nurses play an essential role in the society to improve public awareness about general and oral health. Thus, the aim of this study was to assess the oral health awareness of all the final year undergraduate nursing students of Khammam district. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire study was conducted in all the nursing colleges of Khammam district. A total of 147 students were included in the study and they were provided with a questionnaire consisting of 26 questions which were evaluated under four categories. Data analysis was done to find the statistical significance among the variables. Results: 89.8% of the students knew how many teeth we have in our oral cavity. Many of them were not aware of proper brushing method. Regarding oral health, they had adequate knowledge on identification of disease and its relation to general health, and the effect of diet on oral health, but around 81% were confused with the identification of tooth decay. Around 51% of them were not sure about the number of visits a person should make to a dentist. Conclusion: Nursing students have adequate knowledge on basic oral structure and identifying oral diseases, but they are little confused with the method of brushing, number of visits a person should make to a dentist, and specialties in dentistry. Many have shown interest toward camps and clinical postings to improve their knowledge and serve the public.

Keywords: Attitude, dentistry, education, knowledge, nursing, oral health, undergraduates

How to cite this article:
Muttineni N, Bolla SC, Naheeda S, Shaik RB, Reddy SS, Gantha NS. Oral health awareness among the final year undergraduate nursing students in Khammam district, Telangana. J Health Res Rev 2014;1:70-3

How to cite this URL:
Muttineni N, Bolla SC, Naheeda S, Shaik RB, Reddy SS, Gantha NS. Oral health awareness among the final year undergraduate nursing students in Khammam district, Telangana. J Health Res Rev [serial online] 2014 [cited 2022 Aug 16];1:70-3. Available from: https://www.jhrr.org/text.asp?2014/1/3/70/153891

  Introduction Top

Nurses play a prominent role in providing health services, along with doctors. At present, their role in dentistry is negligible as they have less training and knowledge regarding the instruments and methods in this field. However, nurses can be effectively utilized to improve oral health awareness among the public. Walid et al. and Tetuan have proposed that oral health should receive greater importance in the nursing curriculum which should include many clinical hands-on courses in diagnosing the oral diseases. [1],[2] Rak and Warren stated that a special nursing study group should be established to review the research, practice, and current literature on oral care and the inclusion of the dental team is essential in that. [3]

Thus, the aim of this study is to assess the oral health awareness among the final year undergraduate nursing students in Khammam, Telangana.

  Materials and methods Top

A questionnaire-based descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted in November 2011 in which the final year undergraduate students from all four nursing colleges of Khammam district participated. Ethical approval for conducting the study was obtained from Mamata dental ethical committee and nursing ethical committee. A total of 147 final year undergraduate nursing students who gathered on the day of survey were given a self-administered questionnaire and they were given 30 min to answer the questions. All the participants in this study were girls with a mean age of 22 years. The questionnaire included 26 questions and the answers were evaluated under four categories.

The first section obtained information on oral health knowledge [Table 1], the second section obtained information on oral hygiene practice [Table 2], the third section obtained information on attitude toward dentist and dentistry [Table 3], and the last section obtained information on interest to improve knowledge by attending dental camps and the nurses' interest toward clinical posting in dental departments [Table 4].
Table 1: Oral health knowledge

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Table 2: Knowledge about oral hygiene practices

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Table 3: Attitude towards dentistry

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Table 4: Interest towards improving their knowledge

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Statistical analysis

Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS version 12 software. Percentages and proportions were used for description statistics. Chi-square test was employed to evaluate significant difference between proportions. Significance level was set for P < 0.05.

  Results Top

First section: This section assessed oral health knowledge of the students and included questions regarding the number of teeth present, initial identification of tooth decay, deposit, bleeding gums, cause and effect of periodontal disease, relation between oral health and general health, common dental complaints, and effects of diet and tobacco on oral health. Statistical significance (P < 0.05) was obtained for the responses regarding initial identificationof tooth decay, cause of bleeding gums, the common dental complaints which they usually come across in hospitals, effect of diet on gums' health, and effect of tobacco on oral health [Table 1].

Second section: This section assessed oral hygiene practice among the students and contained questions regarding ideal brushing method, ideal materials for brushing, frequency of brushing, type of brush, frequency of changing brush, tongue cleaning, and flossing. Among these, the response to proper brushing method was statistically significant [Table 2].

Third section: This section assessed attitude of the nursing students toward dentist and dentistry in which they were asked regarding the frequency of dental check-up, specialties in dentistry and their function, and their advices toward initial treatment for tooth ache and sensitivity [Table 3].

Fourth section: This section assessed the interest of nursing students to improve their knowledge and when asked whether there is any necessity for them to improve their knowledge in dentistry, a majority of them accepted that they should know more about oral cavity, oral diseases, and expressed the need for a clinical posting in dental departments [Table 4].

The response rate of all the participants was about 90%.

  Discussion Top

In the present study, majority of the nursing students knew that the ideal method for toothbrushing is using toothbrush and tooth paste and an individual should brush twice daily with a soft toothbrush to maintain proper oral hygiene. This finding is contrary to the finding of Al-Beiruti who reported that most of the nurses were not aware about the type of toothbrush used and material used in the tooth paste. [4] Students in the present study did not have adequate knowledge regarding the type of tooth paste to be used and the method of brushing. 66.7% students suggested circular brushing technique to be ideal and many strongly suggested the use of dental floss and interdental brushes. 53.7% students suggested that every individual should change the toothbrush once in 3 months; this finding is in accordance with the result of Saha et al. who reported that majority of nurses changed their toothbrush after 3 months. [5] Schroth and colleagues stated in their study that caregivers of children with early childhood caries were more likely to disagree that dental decay could affect a child's overall health. [6]

In the present study, majority of nursing students accepted that there is a relation between oral health and systemic health, which is in accordance with Andersson et al. who reported in their study that nurses were aware of the impact of oral health in old age. [7] In contrast, Heinrichs and Famili reported that most nurses and physicians in their university/health science center, geographic location, and in general were not knowledgeable about oral health and its relationship to systemic disease. [8]

Majority of the students in this study accepted that they should know more about oral cavity and oral diseases and also reported about their participation in health promotion camps. Several authors have stated that nurses have high level of interest in updating themselves on oral care. [9] But in contrast, Wardh et al. stated that oral health care was given a low priority in nursing care. [10]

In the present study, students felt the need for a clinical posting in dental departments. Tetuan suggested in his study that nursing schools should include oral health assessment in their curriculum. [2],[11] The future of oral health care will require that dental schools work in conjunction with other health care team members to promote periodontal health and teach medical professionals about the relationship between periodontal health and systemic health. [12]

Gallagher and Rowe stated that community nurses play an important role in the oral health care of the society, particularly among those less likely to access dental services, [13] and there is a need to improve their knowledge regarding oral health aspects.

  Conclusion Top

Interprofessional and collaborative education between medicine/nursing and dentistry is important. There exists a critical relationship between oral and general health. Thus, education of health care workers and opportunities for cross-fertilization of ideas should be encouraged. Educational institutions do play a proactive role by creating interdisciplinary opportunities that will serve as the impetus for change in health care delivery. So, a new curriculum incorporating basic topics on oral hygiene should be included for nursing students.

  References Top

Walid EI, Nasir F, Naidoo S. Oral health knowledge, attitudes and behaviour among nursing staff in Lesotho. SADJ 2004;59:288,290,292.  Back to cited text no. 1
Tetuan T. The role of nurse in oral health. Kans Nurse 2004;79:1-2.  Back to cited text no. 2
Rak OS, Warren K. An assessment of the level of dental and mouth care knowledge amongst nurses working with elderly patients. Community Dent Health 1900;7:295-301.  Back to cited text no. 3
Al-Beiruti N. Oral health behavior among a sample of school teachers, physicians and nurses in the Syrian Arab republic. East Mediterr Health J 1997;3:258-62.  Back to cited text no. 4
Saha, et al. Oral hygiene practice and status among health care workers in private nursing homes of Davangere. J Ind Dent Assoc 2000;71:201.  Back to cited text no. 5
Schroth RJ, Brothwell DJ, Moffatt ME. Caregiver knowledge and attitudes of preschool oral health and early childhood caries (ECC). Int J Circumpolar Health 2007;66:153-67.  Back to cited text no. 6
Andersson K, Nordenram G, Wårdh I, Berglund B. The district nurse′s perception of elderly patients′ oral health: A qualitative interview study. Acta Odontol Scand 2007;65:177-82.  Back to cited text no. 7
Heinrichs EP, Famili P. Dental school faculty teaching the periodontal-systemic connection to medical students: A pilot mini-elective. J Dent Educ 2011;75:1370-3.  Back to cited text no. 8
Adams R. Qualified nurses lack adequate knowledge related to oral health, resulting in inadequate oral care of patients on medical wards. J Adv Nurs 1996;24:552-60.  Back to cited text no. 9
Wårdh I, Hallberg LR, Berggren U, Andersson L, Sörensen S. Oral health education for nursing personnel; experiences among specially trained oral care aides: One-year follow-up interviews with oral care aides at a nursing cacility. Scand J Caring Sci 2003;17:250-6.  Back to cited text no. 10
Spielman AI, Fulmer T, Eisenberg ES, Alfano MC. Dentistry, nursing, and medicine: A comparison of core competencies. J Dent Educ 2005;69:1257-71.  Back to cited text no. 11
Formicola A, Valachovic RW, Chmar JE, Mouradian W, Bertolami CN, Tedesco L, et al. Curriculum and clinical training in oral health for physicians and dentists: Report of panel 2 of the Macy study. J Dent Educ 2008;72(Suppl):73-85.  Back to cited text no. 12
Gallagher J, Rowe J. Community nurses′ contribution to oral health. Br J Community Nurs 2001;6:526,528-534.  Back to cited text no. 13


  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]

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