Oral health education needs of diabetic patients in Ibadan.Afr J Med Med Sci. 2000 Sep-Dec; 29(3-4):269-74.AJ
Previous studies on this group showed very high perceived oral health needs of diabetics. The author therefore considered it necessary to investigate their oral health education needs. This study seeks to highlight the oral health knowledge, attitude and practices of the group with the view of designing a dental health education programme which can be incorporated into the already existing health education programme for diabetics. The study was conducted on a sample of 120 adult registered diabetic patients from the two diabetes clinics in Ibadan, University College Hospital (U.C.H.) and Ring Road Government Hospital. The study also included fifty healthy adult non-diabetic volunteers for comparism. Glycaemic control was determined by estimating their fasting blood glucose F.B.G. Four trained interviewers interviewed the participants on their oral health knowledge, attitude and practices as well as on vulnerability factors such as educational status, gender, occupation, location and age. Nineteen (19) diabetic patients and fourteen (14) non-diabetic participants were excluded from the study. This study highlights the comparable oral health knowledge, attitude and practices of diabetic patients with the non-diabetic participants. The study shows the good knowledge of all groups on the frequency of tooth cleaning (86.1%, 84.6% and 95.2%), their poor knowledge on the necessity of regular dental clinic attendance (25%, 23.1% and 45.2%) and the effect of diet on their oral health (2.8%, 31% and 29%). Less than 50% of the subjects knew the cause of periodontal disease. Majority of diabetic patients do not know factors in diabetics that can contribute to oral ill health and most importantly quite a number of diabetics (53.9% and 46.8%) were not aware of the need for glyceamic control to prevent and control oral infections in diabetics. The positively established attitudes of many subjects towards oral health is unequivocal. The habit of tooth cleaning either with toothbrush and paste or with chewing stick is entrenched in the participants. The influence of educational status was highly significant on the frequency of tooth-brushing. Removal of calculus being the highest perceived need in a previous study, in this group, is not consistent with the regular tooth cleaning habits expressed in this study. However, previous researchers have emphasised the efficiency rather than frequency of cleaning as the more important aspect of tooth cleaning. Thus, this study seems to have confirmed previous studies. This study brings into focus the establishment of a positive attitude prior to knowledge without it being followed up with a health directed behaviour.