Abstract

Objective: To evaluate the effect of oral health education on oral health attitude and behaviours of dental students using the Hiroshima University-Dental Inventory (HU-DBI) and compare the findings with those obtained from medical students.


Methods: This was a comparative cross-sectional study involving final year dental and medical students of the University of Benin. The research tool was a pre-tested modified HU-DBI survey consisting of 22 items,19 of which are primarily associated with oral health behaviour and the remaining 3 related to cigarette smoking habit. Parametric analysis in the form of independent T-test was applied to determine the difference in HU-DBI score of the two groups of students. Cross tabulations were used to report categorical variables and these are presented as counts and percentages. The Chi-square test was applied for comparing responses to the questions among the two groups of students with the level of significance set at p<0.05.Bonferroni's adjustment was applied by dividing the desired critical alpha level (0.05) by the number of tests (22) being performed and the result used as the critical level in this case 0.002.


Results: The mean HU-DBI score was 5.86±1.93 with the mean HU-DBI score for the dental students being 7.42±1.57 and for the medical students 4.87±1.41. This difference was statistically significant. Dental students have more positive attitudes towards oral health and display health behaviours to a larger extent than medical students.


Conclusion: Studying dentistry exposes dental students to receive oral health related information routinely assisting them in adopting positive oral health behaviour. Therefore, in the overall interest of better health for the populace and inadequate oral health manpower, it is important that the medical curriculum should incorporate structured oral health education