Main Article Content
Objective: Description of oral health-related attitudes among dental students in Nigerian Universities.
Methods: The study was a cross sectional survey involving the use of a multi-stage sampling technique to select 812 undergraduate dental students from 6 institutions. Information on socio- demographic characteristics of respondents and their oral health-related attitudes were collected using a well-structured, self-administered questionnaire. Chi-square test was used to investigate the association between socio-demographic characteristics and oral health-related attitudes.
Results: The mean age of the respondents was 22.0±3.0 years. About 15% of the students were in year-1. The mean attitude score was 10±1.8 of 13. Over 90% of the respondents correctly agreed to the statements: “Regular visit to the dentist are necessary” (96.3%), ‘‘Treatment of the teeth is as important as any other part of the body’’ (98.3%), “It is important to visit the dentist whether there is pain or not” (92.4%) and ‘‘the tooth brush is an oral hygiene aid’’ (96.3%). About 75%, 66% and 44.5% of the students respectively correctly disagreed with the statements: ‘‘Dental floss is not a useful oral hygiene aid’’, “It is not necessary to bother about the color of our teeth” and “Patient should decide the types of treatment they receive.” There was a significant association between study level (p<0.0001) and sex (0.034) on one hand and attitudes toward oral health on the other hand.
Conclusion: The attitudes toward oral health among the Nigerian undergraduate dental students was good. The oral health-related attitude of the students was significantly influenced by sex and level of education of respondents. As part of their curriculum, dental students should start learning about preventive aspects of oral health as early as their first year in the University.