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Topical fluoride use: Knowledge, attitudes and practices of undergraduate dental students of three Dental Colleges in South India

Topical fluoride use: Knowledge, attitudes and practices of undergraduate dental students of three Dental Colleges in South India

European Journal of Dental Education 22(3): E444-E450

For effective utilisation of topical fluorides in caries prevention, dental professionals should have adequate knowledge regarding its appropriate use. The decision regarding preventive treatments like topical fluorides is influenced by knowledge acquired during undergraduate training. The aim of this study was to assess the knowledge, attitudes and practices of undergraduate dental students in the use of topical fluorides. A descriptive cross-sectional questionnaire study was conducted from June to August 2015 following ethical clearance. Three willing Dental Colleges from 3 states of South India participated. Information regarding the knowledge, attitudes and practices of students in the use of topical fluorides was collected using a validated questionnaire. Nine hundred and seventy-two dental students (79.6% females, 20.4% males) participated. Freshers and preclinical batches had poor overall knowledge of fluorides, which did not show substantial improvement by internship. Self-applied topical fluoride use (fluoridated toothpaste) was seen in more than 90% of interns, and majority had "positive fluoride attitude." Having knowledge of topical fluorides and positive attitudes to topical fluorides did not result in "good oral self-care behaviour" nor appropriate clinical use of topical fluorides. Students who used topical fluorides for persons with history of caries had highest odds of brushing twice a day (OR = 2.7, 95% CI = 1.54, 4.12) and a "positive fluoride attitude" (OR = 1.2, 95% CI = 0.21, 1.57). Dental students showed deficiencies in their knowledge and understanding of topical fluorides. Dental education in India needs emphasis on topical fluorides across all years, with a special focus on caries risk-based topical fluoride use.

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Accession: 065628370

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PMID: 29396903

DOI: 10.1111/eje.12323

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