The association of different levels of knowledge with the oral health status and oral hygiene habits among dental medicine students: a cross-sectional study

Keywords: dentistry, periodontal disease, caries, students, oral hygiene habits, education


Aim: To investigate whether different levels of knowledge about oral diseases are associated with oral health status, oral hygiene habits, and overall quality of life related to oral health by comparing the first- and the fifth-year dental students at the University of Split.

Methods: All students underwent dental examination which included an evaluation of periodontal and dental hard tissues. Periodontal indices included plaque index (PI), bleeding on probing (BoP), pocket probing depth (PPD), and clinical attachment level (CAL). We estimated hard tooth tissues using the decayed, missing, filled permanent teeth (DMFT) index. We also collected basic medical history data and oral hygiene habits, as well as oral health-related quality of life data through the Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP-14) questionnaire.

Results: Fifty-seven dental medicine students participated in this study. The median number of teeth in both groups of students was 28 (interquartile range (IQR)=24-32 for he first-year students; IQR=25-32 for the fifth-year students). All first-year students were diagnosed with healthy periodontium, while two fifth-year students had periodontitis and six had gingivitis. The fifth-year students used interdental brushes, mouth rinses and went for professional teeth cleaning more frequently. Logistic regression analysis showed that the fifth-year students had higher PI (odds ratio (OR)=1.157, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.025-1.306, P=0.018) and BoP (OR=1.466, 95% CI=1.116-1.925, P=0.006). They also used mouth rinses more often (OR=7.102, 95% CI=1.215-41.524, P=0.030). We found no statistically significant differences in quality of life between the first- and the fifth-year students.

Conclusion: Higher educational level could be associated with better oral hygiene habits, although it did not result in better oral health status among dental students.

Research Articles