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Knowledge and perception of oral health promotion in schools among dental nurses in Sarawak, Malaysia



Knowledge and perception of oral health promotion in schools among dental nurses in Sarawak, Malaysia



Asia-Pacific Journal of Public Health 12(1): 12-16



In recent years, the concept of a Health-Promoting School has received much interest. In Malaysia, dental nurses are ideally placed to play a lead role in promoting Oral Health within the school setting. This study aims to provide information on the knowledge, perception and perceived role of Oral Health Promotion in schools, among dental nurses. A postal questionnaire was used to measure dental nurses' knowledge, perception and perceived role of Oral Health Promotion. The majority (60%) of dental nurses had good knowledge of Oral Health Promotion. Generally, they perceived that they play an important role in promoting Oral Health in schools. However, a sizeable proportion (25%) did not think they had a role to play in working together with school authorities to provide children with healthy food choices in school canteens. The majority (60%) of dental nurses did not perceive Oral Health Promotion to be important as a whole. They had a good perception of the concepts: it supports behaviour change, it has appropriate goals, it integrates oral health and general health and relieves anxiety. However, they had a poorer perception of the concepts; diverse educational approaches, participation, focus on prevention, early intervention, "spread of effect" of dental health education and "make healthier choices the easier choices". Years of service was not significantly associated with knowledge and perception of Oral Health Promotion. Dental nurses should be reoriented towards a more holistic practice of Oral Health Promotion. Workshops that invite active participation from dental nurses should be conducted to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills.

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Accession: 046508168

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PMID: 11200211


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