Oral health care-seeking behaviour and influencing factors among 18-34 years old women in Kochi, India

Nija M. A., Geethu Gireesh, Minu Maria Mathew, Ramanarayanan Venkitachalam


Background: Oral health, though an integral part of general health, is accorded low priority and remains an issue of neglect. Women during their reproductive years suffer from various oral problems that warrant timely utilization of care. Understanding factors affecting health-seeking behavior is necessary. The objective of this study was to determine the personal level and system-level factors that affect utilization of oral health care among 18-34 year-old women visiting a dental health care facility.

Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire-based study was conducted among 18-34 year old women. Participants were recruited using convenience sampling from a tertiary dental health care facility. A Chi-square test was used to determine the association of sociodemographic variables on factors affecting the utilization of oral care.

Results: A total of 194 responses were obtained. The mean age of study participants was 27.1±5.2 years. Around 62% of women suffered from multiple dental problems in the past year of which tooth decay and swelling of gums were most common. About 68% of them sought treatment with a dentist. Half of the respondents were themselves responsible for making health care decisions. 55% of the participants reported barriers in availing dental care. The cost of dental treatment, fear of pain, and lack of time were the most commonly reported barriers.

Conclusions: Oral health-seeking behaviour among women was found to be good with regard to dental attendance. Personal level barriers were greater than system-level barriers in availing dental care.


Barriers, Oral health, Women

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