TYPE OF MANUSCRIPT: survey articleRUNNING TITLE: Knowledge and awareness about oral hygiene status among nursing students.AUTHOR NAME:MADHUMITHAA SIVARAJANUndergraduate studentSaveetha dental collegeSaveetha university,Chennai,IndiaTelephone number:- +91 9566910029Email:- [email protected] AUTHOR:-Dr. DHANRAJDepartment of prosthodonticsSaveetha dental collegeSaveetha university, Chennai, IndiaTelephone number:- +91Email:-ABSTRACT:TOPIC: Knowledge and Awareness about oral hygiene among nursing studentsAIM AND OBJECTIVE:The objective of the study is to create an awareness of oral hygiene among nursing students.BACKGROUND AND REASON:Oral disease qualifies as major public health problems owing to their higher prevalence and significant social impact. Oral health is considered as fundamental to general health and well-being. A healthy mouth enables an individual to speak, eat and socialize without experiencing any active disease, discomfort or embarrassment. Oral health knowledge is considered to be an essential prerequisite for health related behavior. Little is known about oral health attitudes and behaviors of nursing students especially of those who are great supporters of this field. Owing to the high stress levels the nursing students may find it difficult to maintain perfect oral hygiene. Hence this study was initiated to assess the oral hygiene status and create improved awareness in them.KEYWORDS:Oral hygiene, awareness, survey, statisticsINTRODUCTION:Health is the complete state of physical, mental and social well-being and not just the absence of disease or infirmity. Health is a common theme in most of the cultures with an emphasis on the fact that health is a fundamental human right and a worldwide social goal necessary for an improved quality of life. 1 Oral cavity is an important diagnostic area not just because it contains derivatives of all of the primary germinal layers, and includes tissues not demonstrable anywhere else in the body, but also because of its role played in diagnosing a number of systemic diseases just because of their oral manifestations.2,3 Studies have shown that brushing, especially with fluoride tooth pastes, can reduce dental caries,17 but the effect of oral hygiene on periodontitis has not yet been clearly demonstrated.18Oral health is the standard of health of the oral and related tissues which enables individual to eat, speak and socialize without active disease, discomfort or embarrassment and which contributes to general well-being.4 There have been rapid changes in the pattern of oral diseases during the past decade.5,6 One of the primary concerns of dental health care professionals is to impart positive oral health knowledge and behavior in the society and to create an environment to shift the responsibility of public health from the shoulders of health professionals to the people’s own hands. Good oral health is essential for health and as has a positive influence on physical, mental and social wellbeing. Oral hygiene plays a very important factor in prevention of oral disease. Poor and bad oral health can cause extreme pain, interruption of sleep, affects the ability to consume a healthy diet, has an impact on social interaction and cause difficulty with speech. Also, it can have a huge effect on other health conditions.10Periodontal disease may contribute to cardiovascular disease, low birth weight, aspiration pneumonia, and nutritional deficiencies in children and elders are some of the examples.8 Oral health consequences of using smokeless tobacco which is lesions in the oral mucosa and an increased risk of oral cancer, have been recognized.15Oral hygiene has always been considered as a risk indicator and a risk factor for various oral problems and also for access to oral health has been a complex issue involving barriers such as inability to afford services to various cultural preferences, from lack of adequate services to various technological setbacks. 9Association between smoking and periodontal problems has been studied and researched for as far back as the 1940’s,11 yet there has ended a prevalence as to the role of smoking in periodontal disease up to 1980’s.16The most confirmed risk factors for periodontitis are cigarette smoking and diabetes.14 Regular dental checkups12 and non-smoking13 are recommended for maintaining optimal oral health.Students related to this health franchise play an important role in oral health care and promotion. People in Nursing play a very important role in health promotion, and therefore it is important that their oral health knowledge be good so that the community can also be benefited eventually. It is found that very few studies have collected data regarding the dental/oral hygiene knowledge of medical practitioners. 7 Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess the oral health knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) of nursing students. Health beliefs and attitudes of the people in nursing field will not only affect their oral self care habits but can also give motivation to their patients to maintain their oral hygiene19. There are many other factors that can influence attitude and behavior of an individual20.The objective of the study is to create an awareness of oral hygiene among nursing students.MATERIALS AND METHODS:A questionnaire was prepared. The survey was conducted among the nursing students of Sri Ramakrishna college of nursing and saveetha nursing college to assess the knowledge, attitude and awareness on oral hygiene. A simple sample size of 100 students were used. Questions based on the dental knowledge and their attitude towards oral hygiene were asked to the students. The survey was created on surveyplanet. The questionnaire consisted of a basic 11 questions.INCLUSION CRITERIA Students of age group 18-22 years. Only nursing students who were in their under graduation studies.EXCLUSION CRITERIA:Post graduation students and drop outs.RESULTS:The results indicated that most of the participants are concerned about their oral hygiene for a healthy body. Yet, they did not take enough steps to improve their oral hygiene.CONCLUSION:This study says that 98% of the students do care about their oral hygiene. And about 90% of the students are aware of the advantages of good oral hygiene. 66% do realize that refusing to go to a dentist does have an influence on their oral hygiene. Yet only 33% go to a dentist for a regular checkup. Hence this study makes me conclude by saying that even though the participants are aware of the certain consequences of bad oral hygiene, sufficient steps are not being taken by the students to improve their oral hygiene. DISCUSSION:The below tabulation and charts show the questions asked to the participants,the number of participant to each response and the percentage for each response.QUESTIONS OPTIONS PARTICIPANTS PERCENTAGE1 .How much times do you brush a day? 1.once2.twice3.more than twice 63460 42.2%57.8%2. Did you know that the way you brush also has an impact on how healthy your teeth are? 1.yes2.no 9910 90.8%9.2%3. Do you use mouthwash or do you floss everyday? 1.mouthwash2.floss3.both4.none 3291751 29.4%8.3%15.6%46.8%4.How many times have you visited a dentist in the last one year? 1.never2.once3.twice4.more than twice 44272117 40.4%24.8%19.3%15.6%5.During the past 12 months was there a time when you needed dental care and could not get one? 1.yes2.no3.didnt know if I needed one4.refused 1472230 12.8%66.1%21.1%6. Do you think refusing to go to a dentist has an influence on your oral hygiene? 1.yes2.no 7237 66.1%33.9%7. Do you go to a dentist for regular checkup for a healthy mouth? 1.yes2.no3.not concerned 365616 33.3%51.9%14.8%8. In the past three months,have you noticed a teeth that did not look right? 1.yes2.no3. yes ,I did notice. I’m not concerned about it 277110 25%65.7%9.3%9.not cleaning your teeth everyday can cause 1. decay2. gum disease3. bad breath4. all of the above5. nothing6. don’t know 5398813 4.6%2.8%8.3%80.7%0.9%9.8%10. How long do you normally take to brush your teeth? 1.about 30 secs2. about a minute3. more than a minute4. don’t know. 1142534 10%38.2%48.2%3.6%11. Do you think oral hygiene is also important for a healthy body? 1. yes2. no 1062 98.1%1.9%Chart 1 Chart 2: Chart 3 Chart 4Chart 1When asked if refusing to go to a dentist had an influence on their oral hygiene, 66.1% accepted that it did and the rest 33.9% answered that it did not influence on their oral hygiene.Chart 2When asked about the consequences of not cleaning the teeth every day, 80.7% knew the consequences. This shows that most of the participants are indeed aware of oral hygiene. 4.6% chose that they’d get decay,2.8% chose that they’d get gum disease,8.3% chose that they’d get bad breath,0.9% chose that they’d get nothing, and 9.8% chose that they didn’t know any of the options nor the consequences.Chart 3When asked if oral hygiene was also important for a healthy body, 98.1% answered that it was important. This shows that almost all participants are concerned about their oral hygiene.Chart 4When asked if the way they brush also had an impact on oral hygiene, 91% accepted that it did have an impact and 9% denied that it didn’t.From this survey, it has been seen that people are indeed aware of oral hygiene, its advantages, yet they don’t take enough steps to improve their oral hygiene ie; only a few go to a dentist for a regular checkup. Hence as participants of dental field, it is our responsibility to spread more awareness about dental hygiene to everyone and not just to the supporters of this field (nursing students).The results indicated that most of the participants are concerned about their oral hygiene for a healthy body. Yet, they did not take enough steps to improve their oral hygiene.REFERENCE:1. Park K. Textbook of Preventive and Social Medicine. 23rd edition. M/s Banarsidas Bhanot publishers. 20152. Cheraskin E (1958) Oral manifestations of systemic diseases. 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