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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 497-501

Opinions of the commuters to receive oral health messages in South central railway zone India: A cross-sectional study


Department of Public Health Dentistry, Sri Sai College of Dental Surgery, Vikarabad, Hyderabad, Telangana, India

Date of Web Publication7-Dec-2015

Correspondence Address:
Md Shakeel Anjum
Department of Public Health Dentistry, Sri Sai College of Dental Surgery, Vikarabad, Hyderabad - 501 101, Telangana
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2319-5932.171196

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  Abstract 

Introduction: The railroads of India are the fourth most heavily used system in the world. Railways are one of the main modes of transport and millions of people travel by train daily. Aim: To know the opinions of commuters in receiving oral health messages in railways station through various methods and also their knowledge and practice regarding oral hygiene. Materials and Methods: Using convenient sampling method data from the commuters was obtained by a pretested questionnaire through interview method from 14 railway stations of South Central Railway zone. Pearson Chi-square test was used to compare the opinions of commuters based on their gender to receive oral health messages. Results: A total of 596 (97.3%) responded to the survey; a maximum of 297 (49.8%) subjects strongly agreed to the statement that railway platforms should have informative posters on oral health. A maximum of 188 (31.5%) commuters strongly agreed that prerecorded messages on oral health if played before the announcement of arrival and departure of train will be helpful to spread oral health awareness. Majority of 43% commuters (255) preferred to receive oral hygiene instructions printed on back side of the ticket followed by messages on television and through posters. Conclusion: Majority of the commuters preferred to receive oral health information in railways stations. Hence, efforts can be directed in spreading oral health information among public through railways.

Keywords: Commuters, oral health messages, railways


How to cite this article:
Reddy P P, Anjum M, Akula S, Monica M, Madipally S, Rao YK. Opinions of the commuters to receive oral health messages in South central railway zone India: A cross-sectional study. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent 2015;13:497-501

How to cite this URL:
Reddy P P, Anjum M, Akula S, Monica M, Madipally S, Rao YK. Opinions of the commuters to receive oral health messages in South central railway zone India: A cross-sectional study. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent [serial online] 2015 [cited 2019 Nov 18];13:497-501. Available from: http://www.jiaphd.org/text.asp?2015/13/4/497/171196


  Introduction Top


The state of one's oral health can offer lots of clues about their overall health. Oral health may be defined as a standard of health of the oral and related tissues which enables an individual to eat, speak and socialize without active disease, discomfort, or embarrassment and which contributes to general well-being.[1] Knowledge acquisition involves complex cognitive processes: Perception, learning, communication, association, and reasoning.[2] This knowledge is usually derived from information and the information when believed translates into an action. There is some evidence to suggest that better knowledge of oral hygiene translates into better practice and a more positive attitude toward oral health.[1]

In India, among the various infrastructure sectors, transport is the prime sector performing a dual role as a commercial organization and vehicle for fulfillment of social obligations. The burden of carrying long-distance traffic, whether people or goods falls mostly on railways. Indian Railways is an Indian state-owned enterprise, owned and operated by the Government of India through the Ministry of Railways. It is one of the world's largest railway networks comprising 115,000 km (71,000 mi) of track over a route of 65,000 km (40,000 mi) and 7500 stations.[3] Particularly, in the present tech-savvy era, factors such as economy, interactive telephone enquiry system, traveling distance, convenience, tatkal scheme, punctuality, speed, concession and a free pass, safety, facilities at the station, easy to carry more luggage and reservation facility. The Indian Railways carryover eleven million passengers every day.[4]

As railways is one of the main modes of transport and millions of people travel by train daily through trains it is important to know the knowledge and practice of oral hygiene among commuters and also to know the opinions of commuters in receiving oral health messages in railways station.


  Materials and Methods Top


This study is a descriptive cross-sectional epidemiological survey on 612 commuters of the railway station from July 1 to July 31, 2014. The study was approved by the Institutional Ethics Committee. Nonprobability convenient sampling technique was followed to recruit the commuters in the study from 14 railway stations, i.e. Begumpet, Hafizpet, Lingampally, Ravulapally, Nagulapally, Shankarpally, Gullaguda, Chidigidha, Vikarabad, Godhumguda, Mailaram, Dharur, Rukmapur, Tandur. Commuters were selected based on the inclusion criteria, i.e., commuters who willing to participate and were traveling by train and who were on the platform. Voluntary verbal informed consent was obtained from all the commuters after explaining the purpose of this study.

A questionnaire was developed, and pilot tested to check the validity of questionnaire that was found to 0.66 (Cronbach's alpha) and also to check for the feasibility of the survey and to note any difficulties encountered during the survey. The questionnaire was formulated based on the literature review and the objective of the study that consisted of 27 questions. Pretesting of the questionnaire was carried out on the commuters of those 30 subjects who were involved in the pretesting exercise of a questionnaire to check for ease of understanding, clarity and their sequential flow. Any ambiguity and inadequacies detected were rectified to ensure the reliability of the questionnaire. Necessary modifications were made to design the final proforma which consisted of 22 questions with 3 questions on knowledge, 6 questions on practice, 10 questions regarding opinion and 3 general questions related to their commuting details, taking care of their oral health, do they think oral health is important as general health.

The questionnaire consisted of demographic data (age, sex), questions related to the knowledge and practice regarding oral health (frequency and duration of tooth brushing, change of toothbrush, cause of tooth decay, past dental visit) and opinions of commuters to receive oral health messages in railway stations and method through which they would want oral health message to receive. Responses were recorded using 4 point Likert scale from strongly agree to disagree strongly. Data were collected through the interview method from all the commuters present on the day of the study in respective railway stations.

Data were compiled and analyzed for completeness. Statistical Package for Social Sciences IBM Corporation (SPSS-version 20.0) was used for analysis. Pearson Chi-square test was used. A P < 0.05 was set for statistical significance.


  Results Top


A total of 612 commuters were interviewed of which 596 could finish the interview with the response rate of 97.3%. Majority of commuters (54.7%) were between the age group of 30–40 years, 81% of them were males, 19% were females and 55.9% used railways as their daily modes of transport. Most of the commuters 272 (46%) commuters agreed that general health is related to oral health and 40% agreed that consuming too many sweets will cause tooth decay, and there were a gender difference in knowledge regarding oral health [Table 1]. Majority agreed that general health is related to oral health but regardless of this knowledge 40.3% (240) commuters said that they do not take care of oral health as much as general health. Statistically significant difference P = 0.00* was observed regarding the knowledge on sweets consumption and dental caries and also the oral hygiene practice which will prevent bleeding gums (P = 0.00) among males and females.
Table 1: Knowledge of commuters regarding oral health and their gender wise comparison

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[Table 2] shows that most of the commuters preferred to go to the pharmacy to take medication over the counter in case of the dental problem followed by 32.2% (192) commuters visiting a dentist and there was significant difference P = 0.00* when the gender wise comparison was made. About 34.9% (208) of the commuters have never been to a dentist, the reason being the cost of dental treatment followed by no symptomatic tooth for which they need treatment. Majority of 314 (52.7%) subjects brushed once daily for 2–3 min, 339 (56.9%) with oral hygiene aid as tooth brush and tooth paste by 296 (49.7%) commuters and most of them changed their toothbrush for every 3–6 months (42.6%). Significant difference was found between the two genders when the oral hygiene aids and the methods followed for oral health care (P = 0.00).
Table 2: Oral health practices of the commuters and their gender wise comparison

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[Table 3] shows the opinions of commuters in receiving oral health messages where 297 (49.8%) subjects agreed to the statement that railway platforms should have informative posters on oral health. Majority of commuters (33.7%) thought that oral health information printed on the backside of railway ticket will be helpful to them while 138 (23.2%) subjects disagreed with it. A maximum of 192 (32.2%) and 146 (24.5%) commuters wanted oral health information to be stickered inside compartments and platforms respectively, and there was gender difference between the opinions of the commuters.
Table 3: Opinions of commuters to receive oral health information and their gender wise comparison

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A maximum of 188 (31.5%) commuters strongly agreed that prerecorded messages on oral health, if played before announcement of arrival and departure of train, will be helpful to spread oral health awareness. While 197 (33.1%) commuters agreed that television screens in railway station should have scrolling messages on oral health. There was a statistically significant difference between the both the genders in their opinions (P = 0.00).

Among all the methods, most of the commuters (255 [43%]) preferred to receive oral hygiene instructions printed on back side of the ticket followed by messages on television by 31% and 19% showing a preference for posters to receive oral health messages [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Preferred methods to receive oral hygiene messages

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  Discussion Top


Prevention is the key to maintaining good oral health. Knowing what particular dental problems we are at risk for developing and how we can reduce those risks will help us decide the most appropriate means to prevent dental problems.[5] This is possible only through increased awareness and undivided attention among people which will help to achieve better oral health.

In this study, 49.8% of the commuters were willing to receive oral health information through various methods in the railway stations. This can be considered as a positive aspect of this survey as all the commuters were interested in improving their oral health knowledge and awareness regarding oral hygiene. These finding to the best of our knowledge are first of its kind as no studies had previously been carried on these aspects. Therefore, no comparison could be made with other studies.

Majority of the commuters in the study preferred to have printed material on the back side of the tickets, on platforms, in waiting rooms, and in compartments. These are the areas where passengers will be having leisure time, and they would like to read information useful for them and this could be a better way to deliver messages to a larger population in a much effective way. However, this will not be of greater advantage to the people who are illiterates. 31.5% of the commuters preferred to receive oral health messages through audio-visual aid that is either through prerecorded messages before or after the announcement of the train and 25.7% on the television screens.

Although there was a significant difference between males and females regarding preference for the printed material on the backside of the railway ticket, it was one among the most preferred methods. It may be due to the fact that every commuter will buy a ticket that will be carried along. Hence, they might read the information written on the ticket with a greater ease than the matter that is stickered elsewhere. Audio visual aids are another better option that will be of greater use to illiterate people and also in extreme cases where the commuter if at all they are deaf and also if they do not have vision.

Though emphasis is made on preventive methods for better oral health in a study done by Zhu [6] among Chinese adults majority of the subjects have never been to a dentist in the past which is contrast to our present study where most of the commuters (34.9%) have never been to dentist, and 40.3% said that they will not take care of their oral health as equally as general health. The possible reason could be because of lack of proper awareness among commuters another reason that can be considered here is affordability or high treatment cost for dental procedures. The cost of the treatment and lack of pain were the two main reasons among the commuters for not visiting a dentist. Which is in contrast to the study done by Kaira et al.[1] were fear of dental procedure was the main reason for not visiting the dentist. Due to the high cost of treatment most of the people cannot afford treatment cost and would not opt for any treatments and dental screening procedures.

Majority of the commuters preferred taking medication on the counter or going to a pharmacist first for any dental problem that is similar to the study done by Yadav et al.[7] This may be because oral health and dental treatments are not considered as basic essential needs for a common man that needs immediate attention. One of the positive findings of the study was though the oral health is not considered important among commuters in this study the basic oral hygiene aids and measures such as duration of brushing and frequency of changing toothbrush were properly the information that they might have got from various sources available. This could be because of the improved awareness regarding basic oral hygiene methods to be followed. Efforts can be directed in spreading oral health information among public through railways. Reinforcement of oral health knowledge should be done continuously so that better preventive methods can be followed for better oral health among the public.


  Conclusion Top


Majority of the commuters preferred to receive oral health information in railways stations. Hence, efforts can be directed in spreading oral health information among public through railways. Periodic screening programs should be conducted in railway stations in India and a dentist should be appointed for all main junctions so that it will be useful for the commuters who are busy with their day to day life in taking care of their oral health.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
  References Top

1.
Kaira LS, Srivastavan V, Giri P. Oral health related knowledge, attitude and practice among nursing students of Rohilkhand Medical College and Hospital: A questionnaire study. J Orofac Res 2012;2:20-3.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Thomas S. Oxford dictionary for scientific writers and editors. Oxford: Clarendon; 3rd edition 2010. p. 189. Knowledge.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
The Railway Train How it Works: Navakala Roy. Available from: http://www.science.howstuffworks.com/transport/engines-equipment/train.html. [Last accessed on 2015 May 15].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Vishnuvarthani S, Selvaraj A. Factors influencing the passengers to select train travel: A study in Salem division of Southern Railway. Int J Sci Res 2012;2:1-7.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Abhinav S, Bharathi PM. Dental public health! A mistaken identity. Adv Life Sci 2012;1:58-61.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Zhu L, Petersen PE, Wang HY, Bian JY, Zhang BX. Oral health knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of adults in China. Int Dent J 2005;55:231-41.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Yadav V, Tandon V, Pal S, Ravi Shankar TC, Kaur H, Moudgal M. Oral health knowledge, attitude and practices among adults towards tooth loss and utilization of dental services in Moradabad district. J Orofac Res 2012;2:192-7.  Back to cited text no. 7
    


    Figures

  [Figure 1]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]



 

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