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Research Article
3 (
1
); 22-29
doi:
10.18311/jade/2017/18182

Internet Usage to Access Oral Health Related Information by Patients Reporting to Our Institution- A Cross Sectional Study

Interns; Department of Oral Pathology, Vinayaka Missions Sankarachariyar Dental College, Salem – 636308, Tamil Nadu, India,
Reader, Department of Oral Pathology, Vinayaka Missions Sankarachariyar Dental College, Salem – 636308, Tamil Nadu, India,
Address for correspondence:
Licence
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike 4.0 License, which allows others to remix, tweak, and build upon the work non-commercially, as long as the author is credited and the new creations are licensed under the identical terms.

Abstract

Introduction:

Widespread internet usage worldwide allows increased access to medical and dental information and can be used for patient self-education.

Materials and Methods:

Patients who were reported to the Department of Oral Medicine of Vinayaka Missions Sankarachariyar Dental College were involved in the present study. Institutional Ethical clearance was obtained. Consent was obtained from all the participants and a Questionnaire was given to all the participants. The participants were given a list of predetermined responses to choose their answer.

Results:

Results were calculated. Statistical analysis was done using Chi square test and p value was calculated.

Conclusion:

We may conclude that creating awareness amongst people of different educational backgrounds through appropriate means (following an individualized approach based on educational qualification) would increase internet usage for acquiring information on oral health.

Keywords

Dentistry
Internet Usage
Oral Health Information
Survey

1. Introduction

Wide spread internet usage worldwide allows increased access to medical and dental information and can be used for patient self-education. However, there is little evidence about how the internet is impacting dentistry. This survey was conducted to determine how dental patients in the Department of Oral Medicine of Vinayaka Missions Sankarachariyar Dental College, use it as a source of information on oral health and to discover how it affects oral hygiene practices of patients.

2. Materials and Methods

Patients who were reported to the Department of Oral Medicine of Vinayaka Missions Sankarachariyar Dental College were involved in the present study. Institutional Ethical clearance was obtained. Consent was obtained from all the participants and a Questionnaire was given to all the participants. The participants were given a list of predetermined responses to choose their answer.

Sample size was calculated as 60. Persons involved in the study were divided into three groups. Persons with no formal education, persons with education below 10th standard and persons who have attended college were the three different groups and there were 20 in each group.

3. Aim and Objectives

  • To assess the awareness about internet and social media among patients reporting to our institution.

  • To assess the frequency, purpose and benefit of internet usage on oral health related information.

  • Frequency of dental visits of the patients.

  • To identify the mode of taking appointment for dental visit.

  • To assess the sources of information about oral health related information.

  • To correlate Age, Sex, Location and the educational status among the internet users.

3.1 Inclusion Criteria

Subjects who are willing to participate in the study was the inclusion criteria. Persons of both sexes between 20 to 60 years were included. Mentally retarded patients, medically compromised patients and children were excluded.

Uneducated group had persons who have never attended school. Criteria for the group of basic education was tenth standard and that of highly educated was those who have attended college.

QUESTIONNAIRE

  1. NAME:

  2. AGE:

  3. SEX: M / F

  4. PLACE: Rural / City

  5. EDUCATIONAL STATUS: No formal education / below 10th standard / Attended College

  6. Do you have internet knowledge and have ever used internet? Yes/No

  7. Purpose for which you use internet. E-mail / Whatsapp / Facebook / Google / All of these

  8. Do you use internet for medical and dental purpose?Yes / No

  9. When you or your family member experience a dental pain, what will you do?Visit a dentist / Go to medical shop / Search about in on the internet for drug

  10. How often do you visit a dentist? Once in 6 months /Once in an year / Rarely

  11. How do you make an appointment with your dentist?Phone calls / Online booking / Go without an appointment

  12. Have you ever felt that the information from the internet is different from the ones given by the dentist? Yes / No

  13. Is the information gained from the internet regarding dental problems beneficial to you in anyway? Yes / No

3.2 Statistical Analysis

4. Results

When the internet awareness was correlated with age, place and educational status using Chi square test, it was found to be highly significant and with sex, it was not significant. When the frequency of internet usage for oral health information was compared with age, place and educational status using Chi square test, it was highly significant and with sex it was not significant. When internet usage during dental pain was compared with place and educational status, it was found to be highly significant and with sex and age it was not significant. When the sources of information on oral health issues are compared with age, sex, place and educational status using Chi square test, it was not significant. When the benefit of information from internet regarding oral health issues was compared with age, sex, place and educational status using Chi square test, with educational status, it was found to be highly significant and with age, sex and with place it was not significant. (Table 1 to Table 9)

Table 1.: When the purpose of internet usage was compared with age, place and educational status using Chi square test, it was found to be highly significant and with sex it was not significant
Purpose for which use internet Total Chi square p
Never Google Whatsapp
N % N % N %
Age Up to 25 3 14 18 82 1 5 22 32.81 < 0.001**
26 - 35 4 25 10 63 2 13 16
36 - 45 4 57 2 29 1 14 7
Above 45 15 100 15
Sex Male 13 38 19 56 2 6 34 1.09 0.581
Female 13 50 11 42 2 8 26
Place City 3 11 22 79 3 11 28 22.75 < 0.001**
Rural 23 72 8 25 1 3 32
Educational Status No Formal Education 20 100 20 46.15 < 0.001**
Below 10th standard 5 25 15 75 20
Attended College 1 5 15 75 4 20 20
Total 26 43 30 50 4 7 60
Table 2.: When the number of visits of patients to dentist was compared with age, place and educational status using Chi square test, it was found to be significant and with sex it was found to be not significant
How often do you visit a dentist Total Chi square p
Never Rarely Once in 6 months Once in a month Regularly
N % N % N % N % N %
Age Up to 25 4 18 10 45 7 32 1 5 22 21.80 0.040*
26 - 35 1 6 6 38 4 25 4 25 1 6 16
36 - 45 2 29 3 43 1 14 1 14 7
Above 45 6 40 9 60 15
Sex Male 9 26 12 35 8 24 4 12 1 3 34 4.64 0.326
Female 4 15 16 62 4 15 1 4 1 4 26
Place City 3 11 9 32 10 36 5 18 1 4 28 17.49 0.002**
Rural 10 31 19 59 2 6 1 3 32
Educational Status No Formal Education 8 40 10 50 1 5 1 5 20 13.60 0.093
Below 10th standard 3 15 7 35 6 30 2 10 2 10 20
Attended College 2 10 11 55 5 25 2 10 20
Total 13 22 28 47 12 20 5 8 2 3 60
Table 3.: When the type appointment taking with dentist was compared with age, sex and educational status using Chi square test, it was not significant and with place it was significant
Appointment with dentist Total Chi square p
Go without an appointment Phone calls
N % N %
Age Up to 25 18 82 4 18 22 3.70 0.296
26 - 35 15 94 1 6 16
36 - 45 6 86 1 14 7
Above 45 15 100 15
Sex Male 29 85 5 15 34 1.93 0.165
Female 25 96 1 4 26
Place City 23 82 5 18 28 3.60 0.058*
Rural 31 97 1 3 32
Educational Status No Formal Education 20 100 20 4.44 0.108
Below 10th standard 18 90 2 10 20
Attended College 16 80 4 20 20
Total 54 90 6 10 60
Table 4.: When the internet awareness was correlated with age, place and educational status using Chi square test, it was found to be highly significant and with sex, it was not significant
Have internet knowledge and have ever used internet Total Chi square p
Yes No
N % N %
Age Up to 25 19 86 3 14 22 30.25 < 0.001**
26 - 35 12 75 4 25 16
36 - 45 3 43 4 57 7
Above 45 15 100 15
Sex Male 21 62 13 38 34 0.83 0.362
Female 13 50 13 50 26
Place City 25 89 3 11 28 22.75 < 0.001**
Rural 9 28 23 72 32
Educational Status No Formal Education 20 100 20 40.86 < 0.001**
Below 10th standard 15 75 5 25 20
Attended College 19 95 1 5 20
Total 34 57 26 43 60
Table 5.: When the frequency of internet usage for oral health information was compared with age, place and educational status using Chi square test, it was highly significant and with sex it was not significant
Frequency of using internet for medical and dental purpose Total Chi square p
Never Once a week Once a month Once a year
N % N % N % N %
Age Up to 25 5 23 6 27 5 23 6 27 22 24.84 0.003**
26 - 35 6 38 3 19 4 25 3 19 16
36 - 45 5 71 1 14 1 14 7
Above 45 15 100 15
Sex Male 17 50 6 18 5 15 6 18 34 0.14 0.987
Female 14 54 4 15 4 15 4 15 26
Place City 6 21 8 29 7 25 7 25 28 19.44 < 0.001**
Rural 25 78 2 6 2 6 3 9 32
Educational Status No Formal Education 20 100 20 39.74 < 0.001**
Below 10th standard 9 45 2 10 6 30 3 15 20
Attended College 2 10 8 40 3 15 7 35 20
Total 31 52 10 17 9 15 10 17 60
Table 6.: When internet usage during dental pain was compared with place and educational status, it was found to be highly significant and with sex and age it was not significant
Do when experience dental pain Total Chi square p
Go to medical shop Visit a dentist Search about in on internet
N % N % N %
Age Up to 25 6 27 10 45 6 27 22 8.39 0.211
26 - 35 5 31 8 50 3 19 16
36 - 45 2 29 5 71 7
Above 45 8 53 7 47 15
Sex Male 10 29 19 56 5 15 34 1.25 0.536
Female 11 42 11 42 4 15 26
Place City 4 14 17 61 7 25 28 11.14 0.004**
Rural 17 53 13 41 2 6 32
Educational Status No Formal Education 11 55 9 45 20 8.98 0.052*
Below 10th standard 6 30 9 45 5 25 20
Attended College 4 20 12 60 4 20 20
Total 21 35 30 50 9 15 60
Table 7.: When the sources of information on oral health issues are compared with age, sex, place and educational status using Chi square test, it was not significant
Source of information about dental issues Total Chi square p
Dentist Friends, Family Internet
N % N % N %
Age Up to 25 8 36 13 59 1 5 22 2.03 0.917
26 - 35 6 38 10 63 16
36 - 45 2 29 5 71 7
Above 45 5 33 10 67 15
Sex Male 12 35 21 62 1 3 34 0.80 0.671
Female 9 35 17 65 26
Place City 11 39 16 57 1 4 28 1.74 0.420
Rural 10 31 22 69 32
Educational Status No Formal Education 8 40 12 60 20 3.07 0.547
Below 10th standard 5 25 14 70 1 5 20
Attended College 8 40 12 60 20
Total 21 35 38 63 1 2 60
Table 8.: When the benefit of information from internet regarding oral health issues was compared with age, sex, place and educational status using Chi square test, with educational status, it was found to be highly significant and with age, sex and place it was not significant
Is the information gained from the internet regarding dental problems , beneficial to you in any way Total Chi square p
Yes No
N % N %
Age Up to 25 11 65 6 35 17 0.31 0.858
26 - 35 7 70 3 30 10
36 - 45 1 50 1 50 2
Sex Male 11 65 6 35 17 0.01 0.913
Female 8 67 4 33 12
Place City 14 64 8 36 22 0.14 0.706
Rural 5 71 2 29 7
Educational Status Below 10th standard 10 91 1 9 11 5.06 0.025*
Attended College 9 50 9 50 18
Total 19 66 10 34 29
Table 9.: When benefit gained through internet on oral health issues were compared with age, sex and place , it was not significant and with educational status it was significant
Is the information gained from the internet regarding dental problems, beneficial to you in any way Total Chi square p
Yes No
N % N %
Age Up to 25 11 65 6 35 17 0.31 0.858
26 - 35 7 70 3 30 10
36 - 45 1 50 1 50 2
Sex Male 11 65 6 35 17 0.01 0.913
Female 8 67 4 33 12
Place City 14 64 8 36 22 0.14 0.706
Rural 5 71 2 29 7
Educational Status Below 10th standard 10 91 1 9 11 5.06 0.025*
Attended College 9 50 9 50 18
Total 19 66 10 34 29

5. Discussion

Chestnutt et al. have described the impact of the Internet on dentistry as positive but have also concluded that it has not fully realised its potential. The present study showed that awareness, frequency and usage of internet was more in patients coming from city and with patients who have studied in college1. Naganandini et al reported that low socioeconomic status and a low educational level act as barriers to using the internet. Our study showed positive correlation of internet usage with educational status2.

Aydin et al., reported from Turkey that those in the 25- to 34-year age group who were married, employed, and who have a university degree and were much more likely to seek health information on the Internet than their counterparts3. Our study also showed that age, place and educational status were correlated with internet usage.

Harris et al., reported that the patients attending student dental hygiene clinics make little use of the Internet for oral health information1. However, reported interest in future access is such that dental professionals should develop and harness the potential of the Internet as an educational resource.

6. Conclusion

We may conclude that creating awareness amongst people of different educational backgrounds through appropriate means (following an individualized approach based on educational qualification) would increase internet use for acquiring information on oral health. Confirmation of the results can be obtained by study of more number of patients in all three categories.

References

  1. , . The use of the Internet to access oral health-related information by patients attending dental hygiene clinics. Int J. Dent .Hyg. 2005;3(2):70-3.
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  2. , , . Survey on the use of the Internet as a source of oral health information among dental patients in Bangalore City, India. Oral Health Prev Dent. 2014;12(2):141-7.
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  3. , , . Prevalence of internet usage and access to health information among dental school out-patients. Telemed J. E. Health. 2004;10(4):444-8.
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