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Journal of Dental and Oral Health

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Research Article

Oral Health Knowledge and the Utilization of Dental Services: A Survey of Urban Native Americans

Divesh Byrappagari, Megan K. Kemink and Jessica J. Ray

Correspondence Address :

Divesh Byrappagari, BDS, MSD
Assistant Professor
Department of Oral Health & Integrated Care
University of Detroit Mercy Schoolof Dentistry
2700 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
Detroit
USA
Tel: 313-494-6898
Email: byrappdi@udmercy.edu

Received on: January 23, 2017, Accepted on: February 02, 2017, Published on: February 10, 2017

Citation: Byrappagari D, Kemink MK, Ray JJ (2017). Oral Health Knowledge and the Utilization of Dental Services: A Survey of Urban Native Americans

Copyright: 2017 Divesh Byrappagari, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

  • Abstract

Abstract
The purpose of this study is to understand the oral health knowledge among the Native American patients of American Indian Health and Family Services and how it affects the utilization of dental care by these patients. In collaboration with American Indian Health and Family Services, a non-profit health center serving the Native American community of southeastern Michigan, a paper based survey was administered to all the individuals who sought care at the health center. A total of 55 surveys were collected. A majority of the respondents identified themselves as Native American (71%). Analysis revealed that, a majority of respondents were knowledgeable about the importance of brushing (98%), flossing (96%) and diet (78%) to maintain good oral health. About 91% reported that good oral health was very important to them and about half of them reported having good to very good oral health. A large percent of the respondents did not practice good oral hygiene and seek dental care when needed even though they scored high on the knowledge questions. A majority of the respondents reported not seeking dental care in spite of having dental needs (58%) and listed barriers like; cost of dental care (48%), transportation (10%), and inability to take time off from work (10%) among others. The results of the study indicated that good oral health knowledge alone does not translate to better utilization of dental services, and there are other barriers to seeking care.
Keywords: Urban Indian Health, Health Disparities, Dental Utilization, Oral Health Knowledge