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Oral Health Prev Dent. 2014;12(2):125-31. doi: 10.3290/j.ohpd.a31673.

Self-reported attitudes and beliefs towards dental care among a South Indian population.



To investigate the attitudes and beliefs towards oral health care based on gender, age and educational levels of a cross section of a South Indian population in Hyderabad city.


The study comprised a convenience sample of the general population of Kamalanagar area, Kothapet ward, Hyderabad city, Andhra Pradesh. The questionnaire consisted of close-ended questions and was divided into three sections to gather the demographic details, self-reported attitudes (A1-A9) and beliefs (B1-B16) about dentistry. For all these questions, a 'yes' response denoted a negative/unfavourable attitude/belief and 'no' response a positive/favourable attitude/belief towards dentistry.


The mean age of the respondents was 33.21 ± 13.39 years with the majority possessing a university degree (672; 60%). Based on the age groups, statistically significant differences were noted for preferring to go to a traditional healer first (A1) (P = 0.01) and with regard to the cleanliness of dental clinics (A9) (P = 0.003). Likewise, education also influenced the attitudes of the respondents, where the more well-educated respondents significantly more often answered 'no' to the items 'dental visit only when in pain' (A2) (P = 0.001) and 'visit only with family, friends and neighbours' (A3) (P = 0.02) and concerning cleanliness of the dental clinics (A9) (P = 0.05). Statistically significant differences was documented for most of the questions according to educational levels except for 'dental treatment is very expensive' (B4), 'tooth lost anyhow' (B6) and 'regular dental check-up not required' (B14). The overall comparison of attitude scores revealed no significant difference for the variables. Nevertheless, educational level showed significant differences for belief score with a higher mean score for university graduates (9.82 ± 3.36) (P = 0.001).


Within the limits of the study, it can be concluded that a higher educational level led to a significantly more positive response to dentistry as compared to gender and age groups. In addition, the influence of traditional, social and cultural factors on dental care among this population cannot be ruled out.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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