Oral Health Attitudes among Preclinical and Clinical Dental Students in Germany
Oral health care providers are expected to show good examples of oral health behaviours and attitudes to their community. Previous studies displayed the constructive effect of dental education on oral hygiene manners of undergraduate students. The aim of this survey was to assess and compare aspects of oral health attitudes and behaviours between preclinical and clinical dental students in German universities. The German-language version of the HU-DBI was distributed to preclinical and clinical students from different German universities. Dichotomized (agree/disagree) responses to 20 HU-DBI items were provided in this study, with a maximum possible score of 19. A quantitative estimate of oral health attitudes and behaviours was provided by the total of appropriate answers given to every statement by each group. Data were analysed statistically. The overall mean score of answers favouring good oral hygiene was marginally higher in preclinical (14.62) than clinical students (14.31) but showed no statistical significance. Similarly, the analysis of each item individually displayed no statistically significant differences between preclinical and clinical participants, except in a single item of the survey. This study showed no effective differences in oral hygiene attitudes and behaviour between preclinical and clinical students in German universities. This reveals a weak effect of dental education on improving students' oral health attitudes in Germany and might demand the introduction of more courses emphasizing the importance of correct oral health behaviour of health care providers.