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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 32-35

Oral Health Status and Normative Needs of College Students in Mangalore, Karnataka

1 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Vivekanadha Dental College for Women, Tiruchengode, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Manipal University, Mangalore, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication14-Mar-2017

Correspondence Address:
Ashwini Rao
Department of Public Health Dentistry, Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Manipal University, Mangalore, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2319-5932.201941

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Introduction: Community-oriented oral health promotion programmes can be efficiently targeted by assessing the oral health status comprehensively. Aim: To investigate oral health status and normative needs of college students in Mangalore, Karnataka. Materials and Methods: A descriptive study was done among 720, 18–20-year-old students attending degree colleges in Mangalore using multi-stage random sampling. Oral health status was recorded as per World Health Organization oral health assessment form. The data were coded and analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) 11.5 version software. Results: Overall dental caries prevalence accounted to 68.1%, with a mean Decayed, Missed and Filled teeth (DMFT) of 1.94 [males had higher DMFT score (2.06) than females (1.82)], and majority of the students required one surface restoration. Periodontal status of the students as measured by Community Periodontal Index (CPI) showed that majority of the study participants (34.9%) had calculus necessitating the need for oral prophylaxis. Conclusion: Oral health status of the age groups not traditionally studied gives the complete picture of the oral disease burden, indicating the need of oral heath preventive measures among college students in India.

Keywords: Adults, college, normative need, oral health

How to cite this article:
Lalithambigai, Rao A, Rajesh, Shenoy R, Mithun Pai B H. Oral Health Status and Normative Needs of College Students in Mangalore, Karnataka. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent 2017;15:32-5

How to cite this URL:
Lalithambigai, Rao A, Rajesh, Shenoy R, Mithun Pai B H. Oral Health Status and Normative Needs of College Students in Mangalore, Karnataka. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent [serial online] 2017 [cited 2022 Jan 18];15:32-5. Available from: https://www.jiaphd.org/text.asp?2017/15/1/32/201941

  Introduction Top

In the context of health, oral health and general health are twinned up closely. High prevalence and universal distribution make oral diseases to occupy a key position among public health problems.[1] In developing countries where the resources are sparse, it is of utmost importance to plan primordial preventive strategies rather than treating oral diseases. Hence, data regarding the prevalence of oral disease give us a comprehensive picture to identify the target group and impart preventive modalities.

College life is a crucial period of transition with personal responsibility. Students in this period can be targeted for preventing dental disease and building future oral health.[2] Voluminous literature pertaining to oral health status of school children[3],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9] is available, but data pertaining to young adults, especially college students are sparse. Thus, analysing epidemiological data of age groups not customarily studied [World Health Organization (WHO) index age groups] give the exact picture of the current oral health status and normative needs of the population. This ignited up this study to assess the oral health status and normative needs among college students in Mangalore.

  Materials and Methods Top

A cross-sectional study was conducted among the 18–20 year-old students attending degree colleges in Mangalore. Ethical clearance was obtained from the Institutional Ethics Committee. The principals/institutional chiefs of the selected college were personally contacted by the first investigator. The objective and nature of the study was explained, and written consent was sought to conduct the study in the college. Students who were unable or unwilling to sign the informed consent form or absent to the college on that particular day were excluded from the study. Calibration of the examiner was done by examining 10 patients and re-evaluated by another two investigators who did not take part in the field investigation. The inter-examiner reliability was assessed using kappa statistic (0.87).

The sample size was calculated using the formula n = N ()2 × 0.25/d2 (N−1) + ()2 × 0.25 with 95% confidence interval and ±5 precision level, and assuming N = 5000 gave a sample size of 720.

The list of degree colleges was obtained from the Mangalore University. A cluster random sample design was used to select representative sample of colleges. At the first stage, a list of private colleges (not funded by the government) was prepared, and the list had only one government college. At the second stage, one private college was selected randomly and was approached. As the authorities of that college did not give permission to conduct the study, another college was selected randomly, and permission was obtained. Finally, one government college (1200 students) and one private college (1155 students) formed the target population. Study participants were selected by simple random sampling after obtaining the list of students in the respective colleges.

Oral examination was done using the WHO Basic Oral Health Assessment[10] form with plane mouth mirror and WHO periodontal probe. Clinical examination was conducted using natural light with the participant sitting on a chair with a head rest. The examination was performed in a classroom. The examination area was arranged in such a way so as to allow one person at a time apart from the examiner and the recorder. The recorder was made to stand close to the examiner so that the instructions and codes could be easily heard and the examiner could see that the findings were being recorded correctly.

The data were coded and analysed using the SPSS version 11.5 software. The level of statistical significance was kept at P < 0.05. Descriptive statistics were calculated. Chi-square test was used.

  Results Top

A total of 720 students (360 students from government and private college, respectively) with almost equal number of males (363; 50.4%) and females (357; 49.6%) participated in this study.

The average DMFT among the target group was 1.94, with males having a DMFT score of 2.06 and females with 1.82 [Table 1]. Normative needs assessment revealed that about 24.6%, 0.2% and 0.1% of the students needed one surface, two-surface restorations and extractions, respectively.
Table 1: Distribution of study participants according to dental caries status

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In this study, the highest score as measured by CPI showed that a total of 19.5% of the students had bleeding as their highest score, 34.9% had calculus indicating the need for oral hygiene instructions and oral prophylaxis and 6.8% had a pocket of 4–5 mm necessitating surgical interventions [Table 2]. The gender-wise distribution according to the highest score as measured by CPI showed that 32% males and 37.8% females had calculus as the highest score. Healthy periodontium was seen in 41.9 and 35.3% of males and females, respectively.
Table 2: Periodontal status according to the highest score as measured by CPI

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Mean number of sextants with bleeding was higher in males, whereas the mean number of sextants with calculus and shallow pockets was more in females compared to males but was not statistically significant [Table 3] (P = 0.2).
Table 3: Distribution according to mean number of sextants with highest score as measured by CPI

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Loss of attachment according to the highest score showed that loss of attachment of 0–3 mm was seen in 96.5%, 4–5 mm in 2.8% and 6–8 mm in 0.7% of the population [Table 4].
Table 4: Loss of attachment according to the highest score

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Loss of attachment of 0–3 rnm was seen in 97.5% of males and 95.5% of females, respectively. Mean number of sextants with scores 1 and 2 was more in females (0.030; 0.008) compared to (0.010; 0.006) males; however, there was no statistical significance [Table 5] (P = 0.635).
Table 5: Loss of attachment according to the mean number of sextants with highest score

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Among the study participants, 0.4% had prostheses in the upper arch, out of which 0.3% had bridge denture, and 0.1% had both bridge and partial denture. In males, 0.6% had prostheses in the upper arch, out of which 0.3% had bridge denture, and 0.3% had both bridge and partial denture. In females, 0.3% had bridge prostheses in the upper arch and 0.1% in lower arch.

The distribution of study population according to Dental Aesthetic Index (DAI) scores showed that all the study participants had no malocclusion (scores less than or equal to 25).

  Discussion Top

Oral diseases have significant global oral health burden, and international data confirm that oral diseases is not only a disease of childhood but also a public health problem among adults.[1],[11],[12] The prevalence of dental caries follows ‘nut cracker pattern’ with increasing prevalence of dental caries among developing countries and vice versa for industrialised countries.[1]

Oral cavity is the doorway for many infections; oral hygiene is of great importance for the overall health of a person. Schools and colleges play an immense role in the growth of young minds not only for learning new information but also by having long-lasting effects.[13]

In India, despite improvements in infrastructure and dental manpower, oral health care remains to be a neglected entity, as it is not considered to be life threatening.[14] As there is no national-level oral health policy and fee for service is still the most common mode of payment for dental service, preventive strategies hold priority as the most economical way for improving the oral health of the community. To advocate preventive measures, it is essential to assess the complete presence of disease burden in the community.

Epidemiological surveys are keys to monitor oral health trends. Prevalence of dental caries in this study was 68.1%. The mean DMFT score in this study was 1.94, which was higher compared to a study done among professional college students in Udaipur[2] (1.53 and 1.28 for non-medical and medical professionals, respectively) but lesser than in Israelian (6.77)[15] and Brazilian adolescents (3.29).[16]

In agreement with the results of the previous study[2],[14] in this study, the DT score dominated the DMFT score among the students, indicating a high rate of unmet treatment needs. FT dominated the DMFT score in Brazilian adolescents.[15] Though there was higher prevalence of dental caries, negligible ‘filled’ component revealed that the treatment received for dental caries was still very low in developed countries. In the present study too, though dental services (dental college located within 5 km radius) was available, utilisation of dental services is negligible indicating oral health promotion is the need of the hour.

The percentage of students with healthy periodontium in this study was higher than 36.8 and 14.5% in Udaipur[2] and Iranian college students respectively,[17] but lower than that reported by Mathur et al.[18] in a study among undergraduate dental students.

In this study, the percentage of CPI score for bleeding was lower compared to the study done by Levin and Sekhon[15],[19] and higher than a study done by Mathur et al.[18] The percentage of CPI score for calculus found in this study was lesser than the studies conducted in Udaipur and Belgaum.[2],[19] However, calculus was the dominant content in the CPI score similar to the studies reported earlier.[9],[14]

Prevalence of malocclusion as per DAI score in a study done among college students in Raichur and Nigeria[20],[21] was 21.6%, whereas in this study all the study participants had DAI score of <25 (no malocclusion).

Limitations of this study were that only in-college students were recruited. In-college students differed from truant adolescent’s oral health status, as they are less likely to engage in an unhealthy lifestyle. Therefore, this study’s findings might be underestimated and might not be generalised to all young adults in Mangalore. Target groups felt needs if assessed would have given the comprehensive picture of needs and utilisation of dental services among the target group. As it was a cross-sectional study, only the time period data was collected.

  Conclusion Top

According to this study, dental caries is still a public health problem among college students, with majority of the target population requiring one surface restoration. Among the periodontal disease indicators, calculus is a key component indicating the need for oral prophylaxis.

To recommend, in developing country such as India where option for treatment modality is limited, emphasising oral health promotion through common risk factor approach is promising. Hence, incorporating oral health education through national programmes such as National Service Scheme and National Cadet Corps in educational institutions and training those students towards the same is a viable alternative.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

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Sharda AJ, Shetty S. Relationship of periodontal status and dental caries status with oral health knowledge, attitude and behavior among professional students in India. Int J Oral Sci 2009;1:196-206.  Back to cited text no. 2
Rodrigues JS, Damle SG. Prevalence of dental caries and treatment need in 12–15 year old municipal school children of Mumbai. Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent 1998;16:31-6.  Back to cited text no. 3
Mahesh Kumar P, Joseph T, Varma RB, Jayanthi M. Oral health status of 5 years and 12 years school going children in Chennai city: An epidemiological study. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent 2005;23:17-22.  Back to cited text no. 4
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Ahuja NK, Parmar R. Demographics and current scenario with respect to dentists, dental institutions and dental practices in India. Indian J Dent Sci 2011;3:8-11.  Back to cited text no. 14
Levin L, Shenkman A. The relationship between dental caries status and oral health attitudes and behavior in young Israeli adults. J Dent Educ 2004;68:1185-91.  Back to cited text no. 15
Sousa MdaL XX, Rando-Meirelles MP, Tôrres LH, Frias AC. Dental caries and treatment needs in adolescents from the state of São Paulo, Brazil. Rev Saude Publica 2013;47:50-8.  Back to cited text no. 16
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  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5]


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