Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Do dentists have better oral health compared to general population: a study on oral health status and oral health behavior in Kathmandu, Nepal

Madhu Wagle1*, Tordis A Trovik2, Purusotam Basnet13 and Ganesh Acharya13

Author Affiliations

1 Women’s Health and Perinatology Research Group, Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Tromsø - The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø N – 9037, Norway

2 Department of Clinical Dentistry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Tromsø - The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway

3 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital of North Norway, Tromsø, Norway

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BMC Oral Health 2014, 14:23  doi:10.1186/1472-6831-14-23

Published: 22 March 2014

Abstract

Background

Dentists are considered role models by the general population in regards to oral hygiene and oral health behavior. This study aimed to access the oral health status of dentists and laypersons, and compare the dentists’ practice of preventive dentistry and oral self-care behaviors to that of the laypersons.

Methods

This cross-sectional study recruited 472 participants (195 dentists and 277 laypersons from the general population). Their oral health/hygiene behavior was assessed using a standardized close-ended multiple choice questionnaire. Oral examination was performed to assess caries using Decayed Missed Filled teeth (DMFT) index and periodontal status using Community Periodontal Index of Treatment Needs (CPITN).

Results

Ninety-six percent of dentists brushed their teeth at least once daily, using fluoridated toothpaste and 80.5% twice daily. Although 94% of laypersons brushed their teeth once daily, they seldom used fluoridated toothpaste. Ten percent of participants in each group were caries free. The mean number of teeth present in the oral cavity (27.4 versus 25.4), mean number of teeth with caries (1.8 versus 3.7) and fillings (2.5 versus 0.4) were significantly different (p < 0.0001) between dentists and laypersons, respectively. Regarding the periodontal status, 82% of dentists had CPITN score of 0 whereas 71% of laypersons had the highest score 3 (p = 0.007), and 81% of the laypersons reported tooth mobility compared to 1% of dentists (p < 0.0001).

Conclusions

The participating dentists had better periodontal status and better self-reported oral health behaviors than the laypersons. Despite similar prevalence of caries in the two groups, the prevalence of decayed and unfilled teeth was lower among the dentists.

Keywords:
Dentist; Oral health behavior; Oral health status; Dental caries; DMFT; Periodontal status; CPITN