Preventive Oral Health Practices for Teachers

In this study efforts were made to assess daily practice, preventive oral health knowledge and behavior of the general population of New Delhi. Though brushing was found to be the most common way of brushing teeth, the proportion of subjects using mouth wash is surprisingly high (like 44%) which is much better than the percentage of non-users at Vyas Dental School and Hospital, Jodhpur, but less than half as good as the users at Rajpuri Dental Clinic, Gurgaon. Similarly, while the subject was not very aware about the types of toothpastes available, we can conclude from this that the usage of fluoride was very limited. The subjects who used fluoride brushed twice as often as the other group.


The subject at both Vyas Dental School and Hospital showed a very high level of awareness about dental hygiene and had at least some basic understanding about its implementation. However, the lack of awareness could be explained by the fact that only the last two years of school and a part of primary school were teaching related to dental care. At any rate, all subjects showed a very low level of preventive oral health knowledge about gum disease and dental cavities, which might have influenced their daily behavior. Very few subjects mentioned the problems of infected gums or swollen gums. Most subjects were aware of a gum lift and visited a dentist only after major problems such as swollen gums or infected gums developed.


The study of attitudes towards dental health care in the larger population, especially among college students, reveals surprising facts. The image of a student as a model of good oral hygiene was very poor. One may speculate as to why college students formed such bad attitudes towards the use of dental health products such as mouthwashes or toothpastes. The answers to this question lie in the attitudes of those who witness them using these products and in the values they learned in school.


It seems that most of them do not see any value in oral hygiene and regard their occasional brushing with a toothbrush as sufficient for oral hygiene. Those who know and practice good oral hygiene are seen as less efficient in the use of dental products. On the other hand, the students who practice bad oral hygiene are also seen as less efficient but are perceived as more hygiene conscious than those who do good oral hygiene. These attitudes reflect the lack of preventive oral health education provided by dental health education plans.


The results of a study on the attitudes towards dental care showed that dental professionals need to present clear messages about dental care to the public in order to counterbalance the negative images portrayed by dental professionals in the minds of patients. For this purpose, a health curriculum is required that makes specific reference to both the benefits and drawbacks of each of the various types of oral health care interventions available. The importance of educating students about the benefits of maintaining good oral hygiene at school level can be gauged from the high drop out rates of students who had failed to receive any dental instruction at school. A good program would provide adequate information about the link between good dental hygiene and a lower risk for developing dental caries.


This comparative study was done to examine how dental health knowledge and attitudes concerning dental care affect the effectiveness of dental drug-induced oral reactions. An oral health care drug intervention involves a prescription that is used to treat an ailment. These prescriptions are given either by dentists or by pharmacists to individuals who have pain or discomfort related to some type of disease. The drug is given in a tablet form. The drug may work by reducing pain or discomfort, or by reducing the frequency of tooth decays. The comparative study found that those who were educated about dental drug reactions were less likely to develop adverse drug-induced oral reactions.


The relationship between attitudes toward drug-induced oral reactions and oral health care interventions was examined in a sample of college students. The sample was drawn from two colleges in Illinois – the University of Illinois at Champaign and Illinois State University at Normal. The participants of this study completed questionnaires regarding their opinions regarding dental health, attitudes toward drug use, beliefs about the benefits of fluoridating toothpaste and other common practices and beliefs regarding the safety of such practices. The results of this comparative study indicated that there was a significant difference in perceived benefit-cost relationships between those who were more favorably disposed toward drug use and those who were less so. It also showed that those who were more favorably inclined toward dental drug use had higher dental insurance costs.


Study author Dr. Jennifer C. Tratchenberg, assistant professor of Health Education at the University of Illinois at Champaign, is currently conducting a study concerning the role of post-test awareness in reducing post-test anxiety in dental students. She hopes that her findings will be useful for teachers and other school administrators trying to improve the safety and quality of dental care provided to students. “I would expect that our estimates of savings could double if teachers and other school administrators shared more post-test information,” says Dr. Tratchenberg. “Teacher-learner interactions are important and need to be enhanced to include information on post-test well-being and attitudes toward common dental practices.” She is also looking into whether there is a link between teacher-learner attitudes and increased use of certain drugs after a test, with the hope that this research will be beneficial to school nurses and other school care workers who want to work in collaboration with teachers in improving the quality of post-test care.

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