Psychosocial Factors in Oral Health Care and Dental Caries: The Missing Link

Sadhu Vishnu Priya, Mocherla Monica, Tenali Vinila, Vanga Divya, Gone Hariprasad, Turlapati Sravya
2020 Journal of Oral Health and Community Dentistry  
Aims and objective: Social support (functional measure) and social network (structural measure) have found to influence the health behavior and oral health. As evidence suggests that the source of social support also varies with age, we were interested in finding the major source of support in adolescents and how different levels of support influenced their oral health care and dental caries patterns. Materials and methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on adolescent school students of
more » ... yderabad whose social support and network, oral health behaviors, and dental caries (using DMFT index) were assessed. The social support was measured using "The Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support". Kruskal-Wallis test was used to compare the caries and oral health behavior patterns in students with varying support levels using SPSS 24. Results: Family was the major source of support (35.2%), followed by friends (32.7%), and significant others (32.1%). Students were categorized into "high", "medium", and "low" groups on the basis of the level of "social support" and the size of "social network of friends" and "social network of family". Caries was greater in students having a "lower" network of friends than those with a "higher" network. (p = 0.013). Brushing frequency was better in the "lower" and "medium" social support groups and "higher" social network of friends groups. Conclusion: Better oral health behaviors and minimal caries were found among students with a better social support and social network. This signifies the importance of such support in the students and the need to target the relevant sources at each age to bring down caries in them.
doi:10.5005/jp-journals-10062-0078 fatcat:atvkcxefi5b5nb7xjwhrckigp4