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ORIGINAL RESEARCH Table of Contents   
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 841-842
Utilization of oral health care services among adults attending community outreach programs

Department of Public Health Dentistry, MR Ambedkar Dental College, Bangalore, India

Correspondence Address:
Umashankar Gangadhariah Kadaluru
Department of Public Health Dentistry, MR Ambedkar Dental College, Bangalore
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-9290.111290

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Introduction: Good oral health is a mirror of overall health and well-being. Oral health is determined by diet, oral hygiene practices, and the pattern of dental visits. Poor oral health has significant social and economic consequences. Outreach programs conducted by dental schools offer an opportunity for early diagnosis and treatment, dental health education, and institution of preventive measures. Objective: To assess the utilization of oral healthcare services among adults attending outreach programs. Materials and Methods: This study included 246 adults aged 18-55 years attending community outreach programs in and around Bangalore. Using a questionnaire we collected data on dental visits, perceived oral health status, reasons for seeking care, and barriers in seeking care. Statistical significance was assessed using the Chi-square test. Results: In this sample, 28% had visited the dentist in the last 12 months. Males visited dentist more frequently than females. The main reason for a dental visit was for tooth extraction (11%), followed by restorative and endodontic treatment 6%. The main barriers to utilization of dental services were high cost (22%), inability to take time off from child care duties (19.5%), and fear of the dentist or dental tools (8.5%). Conclusion: The utilization of dental services in this population was poor. The majority of the dental visits were for treatment of acute symptoms rather than for preventive care. High cost was the main barrier to the utilization of dental services. Policies and programs should focus on these factors to decrease the burden of oral diseases and to improve quality of life among the socioeconomically disadvantaged.

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