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Abstract

PATIENTS WITH DIABETES; THEIR PERCEPTION AND PRACTICES TOWARDS ORAL HEALTH

Thisuri De Silva, Manjula Weerasekera*,Dhammika Edirisinghe, Chinthika
Gunasekara, Asanga Sampath, Uditha Bulugahapitiya and Neluka Fernando.

ABSTRACT

Objectives: The study aimed at assessing the knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding oral health among patients attending the clinic for diabetes patients at a Tertiary Care Teaching Hospital, Sri Lanka. Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional, questionnaire based study among 427 patients was carried out. The questionnaire consisted of 14 questions to assess knowledge, 16 questions for practices and 16 statements for attitudes regarding oral health. A total score of ≥75% was considered as a ‘good’, 50%-74% was considered as a ‘moderate’ and <50% as a ‘poor’ level of the aspect assessed. Results: Majority (74%) were females aged above 50 years. Of the patients 56% recognized an association between diabetes and oral health. Only 15% knew that they were more prone to oral fungal infections though 89% knew that diabetes resulted in delayed wound healing. Oral cancer (72%) was mainly recognized as a complication of poor oral hygiene. Regarding attitudes, 98% believed that they should be vigilant regarding their oral hygiene. While 29% believed that a dentist should be visited at least twice a year, only one patient practiced this. A majority (93%) believed that brushing teeth twice a day is important for good oral hygiene and 92% claimed to practice this. Conclusions: Overall oral health knowledge and practices among patients were ‘moderate’ and the level of attitudes was ‘good’. Patients expect the clinic to provide regular oral health education and oral examinations.

Keywords: diabetes, oral health, knowledge, attitudes, practices.


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