Prevalence of Dental Myth and Misconceptions among the Rural Population of Mangaluru City: A Cross Sectional Study

Research Article

Austin J Dent. 2018; 5(6): 1120.

Prevalence of Dental Myth and Misconceptions among the Rural Population of Mangaluru City: A Cross Sectional Study

Renu M, Sabhya J, Shameen H, Sindhu P, Vaishnavi D*, Anjana AP and Suhairath K

Department of Public Health Dentistry, AJ Institute of Dental Science, Mangaluru, Karnataka, India

*Corresponding author: Vaishnavi D, Department of Public Health Dentistry, AJ Institute of Dental Sciences, Karnataka, India

Received: October 11, 2018; Accepted: November 21, 2018; Published: November 28, 2018


Introduction: It is important to know about the myths especially in India, where general and oral health is embroiled in various myths.

Objectives: The purpose of this study is aimed at assessing the prevalence of dental myths regarding oral health, among the rural community of Mangaluru.

Materials and Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted in a rural area of Mangaluru. A total of 200 individuals was included, data were collected using a pretested and validated sixteen term questionnaire, including demographic data, questions regarding dental myth. Data obtained were statistically analyzed using descriptive statistics. Chi-square test is the statistical analysis used.

Results: Almost all the participants believed in one or more dental myth. Majority of the participants, 71.5% believed that oral cancer is not commonly found in older age group. About 75% of the participants felt that there was no necessity to consult a dentist in the absence of pain. Around 55.5% believed that extraction of the teeth of upper jaw causes loss of vision. There was an equally contradicting notion about bleeding gums while brushing.

Conclusion: Various dental myth still lurk in the minds of the population, to discourage the unhealthy practices we the health professionals have to provide intensive health education and promote the adoption of healthy practices. It would be prudent to familiarize professionals to understand these myths and beliefs as they act as barriers towards seeking treatment.

Keywords: Beliefs; Gender; Dental Myths; Oral Health; Age


Health care has become one of India’s largest sectors. It is growing at a tremendous pace due to contribution from private and government groups. For any country to progress health care is the top most priority. Even though there are advancements in health care sector, various myths are inhibited in minds of people.

The word ‘myth’ comes from the Greek word “MYTHOS” which means the stories shared by a group of people which are a part of cultural identity, having a strong influence in seeking treatment during illness [1]. In scientific terms they are extensive and unquestioned false perspective [1]. Socio-cultural factors, false traditional beliefs, lack of proper education, non-scientific knowledge are responsible for seeding myths in the mind of people.

In the medical field too there are various beliefs among the population due to the failure of Indian education to inculcate rational thinking. Hence myths like this become more prevalent, for example; people should drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, we use 10% of our brains, hair and finger nails continue to grow after death; shaving hair causes it to grow back faster, darker, or coarser; reading in dim light ruins eye sight [9].

In India dental myths are very common. These myths can at times be detrimental and cause various degree of disabilities, hence have to be tackled at bud stage [2].

Oral disease being fourth most expensive disease to treat has caused global burden in underprivileged groups of developing and developed countries [8]. The major contributory factors are sociocultural and traditional beliefs, stress, anxiety, and illiteracy [5]. These myths are passed on from one generation to another generation thus causing deep rooted emotion. People often go to quacks when symptoms arise rather than to the dentist enhancing false beliefs. Various myths have been present since the past such as: Tooth fairy is a character in modern western culture is said to give a small gift in exchange for a deciduous tooth when it comes out of child’s mouth. Years ago in Europe, children throw their lost tooth in mouse holes hoping that they would grow sharp teeth. In northern Europe, there was a tradition of tooth fee which was to be paid when a child lost his or her first tooth [2]. Children in Asian countries such as India, China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam toss their lower teeth on the roof and their upper teeth in ground, trusting that new teeth will grow towards the old teeth and be straight [2].

Poor oral health has inflicted intimidations, hampered social relation, lead to chronic diseases and has brought upon high financial cost. Hence adequate measures have to be taken to educate people regarding dental care.

The purpose of this study is to assess the prevalence of dental myths among the lower economic groups of Mangaluru district between the age groups of 20-60yrs.


A cross sectional questionnaire study was conducted in a rural area of Mangaluru, India. The houses that were locked were not considered as a part of the study. The study protocol was approved by the Institutional Ethical Committee (IEC).

The study subjects were selected based on convenience sampling. The following inclusion and exclusion criteria’s were considered for the study.

Inclusion criteria

1) Study subjects gave verbal consent to be a part of the study.

2) Study subjects belonging to the age group of 20-60 years.

3) Study subjects who could comprehend the local language.

Exclusion criteria

1) Study subjects who are ill.

2) Study subjects who could not comprehend the questionnaire.

A 16 item structured, closed ended questionnaire was developed for the study (Table 1) [1]. There was no skip pattern and all the questions were to be answered. The questions 1-5 were based on myth regarding dental caries, the questions 6-9 were about myths regarding tobacco and oral cancer, the questions 10-16 were related to dental problem and treatment related dental myth. The data was collected for a period of 2 months.