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The Importance of Advocating for Oral Health Education Programs on College Campuses: Original Research on the Systematic Examination of Oral Health Beliefs among College Student Minorities

  • Author(s): Vang, Pang
  • Khaira, Arianna
  • Marmolejo-Aguado, Claudia
  • Bains, Kuljeet
  • Sandhu, Manmeet
  • et al.
Abstract

Consistent oral hygiene habits are paramount for the efforts to preserve our overall health. Minimal research has been conducted focusing on college students and more specifically, those classifying as minorities. By narrowing down the field of oral health research to college educated minorities, such as Asian and Hispanic individuals, it is evident that there is a lack of oral education programs available to these individuals. Research focused on college students enables common misconceptions to be identified. Thus, systemic examinations need to be conducted regarding various oral health beliefs in an academic environment. This study investigates oral health beliefs of university students classifying as minorities in efforts to provide new insights as to why common misconceptions are held, even at an educated level. An oral health survey of 829 students was conducted at the University of California, Merced in the Fall of 2015. Most of these students self-identified as Latino (51%) or Asian (22%). A significant number of UC Merced minority students exhibited inaccurate oral health knowledge, which consequently may predispose individuals for a higher risk of developing poor oral hygiene. Oral health misconceptions may have been overlooked and therefore, universities need to provide educational advocacy programs to promote effective hygienic oral practice.

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