Development and validation of an instrument to assess college students' oral health knowledge, beliefs, and behavior
Oral health education emphasizes the importance of brushing, flossing, and getting regular dental exams. Some examples of oral health problems that can occur without proper oral hygiene and dental care are dental caries and gingivitis. Research has shown that a relationship exists between oral health and other health related problems. The lack of awareness, education, and services regarding oral health and hygiene can cause severe unfavorable outcomes later in life. Unique oral health issues that affect today's college students include the use of smokeless tobacco, sexually transmitted diseases, and oral piercing. Although there are many studies conducted on oral health, few are targeted towards the college aged population. The purpose of this study was to develop a valid instrument based on constructs from the Health Belief Model to measure the knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors of college students' regarding oral health and hygiene. The present study utilized a review of the literature and an eight-step process to develop and validate College Students Oral Health Knowledge, Beliefs, and Behaviors (OHKBB). The most effective way to treat oral health related problems is through prevention. Oral health education is needed to ensure that college students are aware of not only the risks but also the prevention of oral diseases. The proposed research will pave the way for programs to help individuals improve their oral hygiene and reduce their risks of oral health related problems through education by identifying the specific oral health related knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors that affect college students oral health.