Oral Health Literacy and Behaviors among students of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology

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Introduction: Oral health is a major determinant in the overall quality of life of all individuals. Oral health literacy, which is the ability of an individual to obtain, understand and use oral health information needed to make informed choices concerning oral health, has been put forth as one of the main influencers of oral health outcomes. This study is to relate oral health literacy (OHL) to certain selected variables. Method: A cross-sectional design was used for this survey. A sample size of 381 was determined by EpiInfo. An interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to collect data among KNUST students. REALD-30 toolkit was used to assess OHL and OHL levels. Multiple linear and multivariate regression analysis was used to determine the predictive associations between OHL and other variables such as college, gender, age, dental visit status and frequency of tooth brushing. Results: Social media was the most preferred medium of oral health education among students (67.65%) while the most preferred medium for the general population was television and radio (49.47%). 33.96% of the population had no prior exposure to any form of oral health knowledge, while 33.18% had never visited a dentist. The mean OHL score was 12.10, with 88.50% having low OHL levels, 8.82% having moderate OHL levels and 2.67% having high OHL levels. Gender (C=-0.116, p=0.005), age (C=- 0.025, p=0.003), college (C=-0.071, p=0.000) and exposure to education (C=0.132, p=0.002) significantly predicted OHL levels. Dental visit status (C=-0.15, p=0.013), frequency of visit (-0.29, p=0.008) and tooth brushing frequency (C=-0.199, p=0.006) were also significantly predicted by OHL levels. Conclusion: About a third of the population had neither been exposed to oral health education nor visited a dentist. There is the need for further studies and further education of students and the general population to be carried out through their preferred media.
This dissertation is submitted to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfillment of requirements for the award of the master’s degree in Public Health: Health Services Planning and Management.
Oral Health, Oral Health Literacy, Regression