Oral health behaviour among adolescents in Kerala, India
Background: Oral health behaviour is essential for planning & evaluation of oral health promotion programmes. This study was conducted to assess the oral health behaviour among adolescents aged between 11 to 19 years in Kannur district, Kerala state in India, including their inter-dental cleaning habits.
Methods: 512 school children aged 11 to 1 9 years, studying from 6th to 12th standards formed the study subjects.
Results: 52.5% were females and remaining were males. 40.8% were Hindus. Brushing of teeth twice daily was practiced by 75% of students. A significant association was found between the correct brushing technique and male gender as well as students in upper primary school compared to high school and higher secondary school education level. The prevalence of inter-dental cleaning habit was observed to be 58%. 76.3% of males and 58.9% of females used coconut leaf toothpicks for inter-dental cleaning. Multivariate analysis revealed age, religion and positive attitude towards inter-dental cleaning as significant factors associated with the practice of inter-dental cleaning.
Conclusions: There was a statistically significant association between gender, age, class of study and recommended method of tooth brushing. More than half of the study subjects practiced inter-dental cleaning and the materials used were locally and easily available those are not recommended by oral health professionals. Multivariate analysis shows age, religion and attitude were the factors significantly associated with regular practice of inter-dental cleaning. Oral health professionals can plan, propose and implement school oral health promotion activities as part of building up oral health promoting school.
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