KNOWLEDGE, ATTITUDES AND HABITS REGARDING ORAL HEALTH IN FIRST- AND FINAL-YEAR DENTAL STUDENTS
Keywords:Students, dental; Oral health; Surveys and questionnaires; Dental plaque index
The purpose of the research was to compare oral health behavior and plaque indices between Croatian first-year and final-year dental students. Therefore, 46.9% of first-year and 47% of final-year dental students were surveyed using the Hiroshima University Dental Behavior Inventory (HU-DBI) questionnaire and had their plaque indices determined. Descriptive statistics analysis, nonparametric tests, and correlation analysis were performed (p<0.05). Sixth-year students had a significantly better mean HU-DBI score (8.06) than first-year students (6.45). Significantly more first year students thought that they could not help having false teeth at their old age (p=0.007), had never been taught professionally how to brush (p=0.019), and used a toothbrush with hard bristles (p=0.001). Significantly more final-year students brushed each of their teeth carefully (p=0.008), thought they could clean their teeth well without using tooth paste (p=0.000), used a dye to see how clean their teeth were (p=0.002), and had their dentist telling them they brushed very well (p=0.028). Plaque index values were significantly lower (p<0.05) among first-year (7.94±0.72) than among final-year (9.13±0.77) students. With advancement in dental training, oral health attitudes improved, but the level of dental students' oral hygiene decreased.