Bacterial plaque and calculus are the most common etiological factors associated with gingival and periodontal diseases. Oral health knowledge and attitude by dental students during their academic years and after completion are crucial due to its direct influence on their aptitude to create awareness and perform appropriate treatment modalities at the community level to achieve good oral health.
Aim: To determine the oral health behavioral attitude and self-awareness levels by assessing the knowledge of periodontics, a dental wing concerned with gingival and periodontal tissues supporting the teeth among non-clinical dental undergraduate students.
Methodology: A total of 111 participants, consisting of 53 undergraduate 1st year BDS and 58 undergraduate 2nd year BDS students who were not exposed to clinical practice participated in this cross-sectional study. Self-administered structured questionnaires with 25 questions were designed based on oral health knowledge, behavior and self-awareness towards periodontics. The data was analyzed by chi-square and Kruskal-Wallis test using SPSS Statistics v. 21.0.
Results: On evaluating the knowledge about periodontics it was witnessed86% of students were aware of this dental wing practice among which only 61% had knowledge about the periodontal structures in the oral cavity. Though 50% showed positive attitude towards oral hygiene practices, only 66%were aware about the role of plaque and calculus in periodontal disease process with a statistical significance of p<0.0001.
Conclusion: The present study clearly shows a lack of self-awareness, knowledge and attitude among the budding dental students during their early academic life. It is indeed believed to impact their approach towards the patients once they enter into clinical practices. Hence steps have to be taken to incorporate positive knowledge by creating problem based education systems in the curriculum.