OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of dental myths and perceived knowledge regarding oral healthcare practices and its associations with levels of education amongst low socioeconomic strata in Karachi, Pakistan.
METHODS: The cross-sectional study was conducted in January 2011. Two-staged random sampling was conducted to achieve a sample size of 576 participants from 8 union councils of Gadap Town, Karachi, Pakistan. An interview-based questionnaire was used to determine the participants' perceptions towards oral health and hygiene practices as well as the prevalence of common dental myths. The subjects were interviewed through a formulated questionnaire that was cross-translated into Urdu language.
RESULTS: Response rate from the participants was 550 (95.48%). Of the total, 270 (47%) respondents believed in the myth of tooth extraction affecting the eye vision. This was significantly associated with the socio-demography of the respondents. Besides, 421 (73%) thought that tooth extraction is not the ultimate remedy for pain relief and it was statistically significant with age and educational status of the participants. Those who considered bleeding while brushing to be normal were 144 (25%), and it was significantly associated with age and education level. Impact of oral health on general health was positively responded by 392 (68%), while 418 (72.5%) respondents did not think that the retention of baby teeth is important. Both these perceptions were significantly associated with age and level of education.
CONCLUSION: Pakistani population has considerable belief in myths and false perceptions regarding oral health issues. Various stakeholders should be involved to develop policies towards healthy attitudes and beliefs within the community towards their oral healthcare.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.