June 2021

Volume 38, Issue 2

Oral health knowledge and practices in the Kaski District of Nepal

Authors: Laura C. Lin Amita Ketkar Priyanka Achalu Hend Alqaderi Sarah Diamond Laura Spero Bathsheba Turton Karen Sokal-Gutierrez
doi: 10.1922/CDH_00134Lin07

Abstract

Introduction: Oral disease is a widespread problem in Nepal. However, up-to-date information on oral health is limited and oral health initiatives may be shaped by assumptions about insufficient oral health knowledge. Furthermore, the influence of socio-demographic factors on oral health in Nepal remains unclear. This study aims to explore the relationship between demographic background and oral health knowledge, attitudes and behaviors in rural Nepal. Methods: Secondary analysis of data from a community-based survey on oral health knowledge, beliefs, practices, and access to care among residents ages 12 and above across 4 rural villages in Nepal’s Kaski District (Total number = 3,243). Chi-square tests were performed to examine associations among oral health knowledge, attitudes and behaviors and demographic characteristics. Results: Participants reported a baseline knowledge of oral health; 92.4% knew about the recommended tooth-brushing regimen. Participants with higher education and younger age demonstrated better oral health knowledge. Misconceptions about dental treatment causing blindness (23.1%), deafness (11.6%), and mental health problems (14.9%) were reported across all groups. Conclusion: Numerous factors besides knowledge likely determine individual oral health behavior. Future interventions should consider community-based outreach programs and dental care delivery through community Health Posts to build trust in dental care, build on existing knowledge and community experiences, and improve access to preventative care. Up-to-date understanding of oral health knowledge and practices and sociocultural influences on oral health behavior will better focus interventions and policy decisions. Keywords: Health behavior, oral health, health literacy, inequality, Nepal, Social Determinants of Health

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