Oral health beliefs and behaviors of nurse and nurse practitioner students using the HU-DBI inventory: An opportunity for oral health vicarious learning

Kimberly K. Walker, Richard D. Jackson


Background: Oral health access to care issues are resulting in curricular changes to train nursing students as oral health educators and providers. However, little data are available concerning their personal oral health beliefs/behaviors. The study purpose was to gather information from nurse and nurse practitioner students regarding their oral health beliefs and behaviors.

Methods: Using the Hiroshima University Dental Behavioural Inventory (HU-DBI), survey data were gathered from nurse and nurse practitioner students as well as dental hygiene students as controls concerning their oral health beliefs and behaviors.

Results: Mean HU-DBI scores were higher among nurse practitioner than nursing students, indicating more positive beliefs/behaviors, but both were lower than dental hygiene students. Both nurse and nurse practitioner students reported significantly fewer dental visits and some poorer hygiene practices than controls. Additionally, nursing students were more likely to believe that their teeth were worsening despite brushing.

Conclusions: Assessment of personal oral health beliefs/behaviors should occur early in nursing education with mentoring so that optimal modeling can positively impact patients’ oral health. Oral health education opportunities within and among disciplines are discussed.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v7n8p19

Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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