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KNOWLEDGE, ATTITUDEAND TRADITIONAL DENTAL HEALTH PRACTICES AMONG THE STUDENT AND STAFF OF TWO SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN MERU

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ABSTRACT

Background: Traditional dental practices are practices carried out by various communities worldwide for various reasons. For instance, for beauty reasons, social class, therapeutic reasons, transition from one age group to another and cultural acceptance. These practices are still common among different communities because they are perceived to be affordable, available and culturally acceptable. In spite of them being helpful, a number of them could be detrimental to both general and dental health. Most people however, are unaware of the negative effects of these practices, hence need for a comprehensive research to be conducted on this area.

Objectives:

To determine the knowledge, attitude and traditional dental health practices among students    and staff at two secondary schools in Meru.                                                                           

Study design:

This was be descriptive cross-sectional study. Study sample involved students, teaching staff and non teaching staff  in Rubate and kiriani secondary school in Meru.

Material and method:  

Simple random method of sampling was used. Self administered questionnaires was filled with the details of knowledge on traditional dental practices, people practicing traditional dental practices reasons and time these practices are done. Traditional dental practiced.

Data analysis:

The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 17.0 was used for data analysis. Descriptive analytical test were carried out to determine the frequency of various variables. Pearson’s Chi square and independent t- test was applies to test the hypothesis. The data was presented inform of figures and tables and pie charts.

Results A total of 132 participants were included in the study. Of these 61 (50.8%) were male and 59 (49.2%) of them female.  Their ages ranged between 12 to 43 years with a mean age of the male were older than and the difference was statistically significance. Majority of the participant had attained form 3, (49.3%) with the minority being below class 8( 1%) others were form 2(22.2% form 1(15.5%), form 4(12.1%) .Most of the participants confirmed that traditional dental practices existed among the Meru community. Some of these practices include use of ash, use of salt water, use of herbs, use of tobacco, use of acid among others.

Conclusion                                                                                                                                         From this study we can conclude that cultural practices are still widely practiced in the Meru community mainly because of affordability, availability. The practices seem to be more prevalent on those who have reached a lower level of education and the old. Students are aware of these practices meaning that they still common among the people of Meru.

Recommendations

From this study, the following recommendations are proposed:-The Government to make modern dental health care facilities locally available and affordable in Meru community.

  1. Public health care workers to come up with education programmes designed for the Meru community.
  2. Policy makers to come up with dental awareness programmes to create awareness on the detrimental effects of the dental cultural practices.

Researchers to carry out additional researches on dental cultural practices in other community in Kenya for comparative studies.

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