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Abstract

This study investigated the oral health beliefs of Alaska Native dental patients via a questionnaire with 4-point Likert scales. Respondents (n = 136) reported high perceived importance of keeping natural teeth. Females viewed oral health as more important than males. Respondents generally did not view dentists as readily available (M = 2.86, SD = 0.66). Perceived availability and efficacy of dentists were positively correlated (r = 0.219, p = 0.021). Beliefs regarding seriousness of dental problems and importance of oral health were strongly correlated (r = 0.547, p < 0.001). Age predicted perceived seriousness of oral health problems, dentist availability, and prevention benefits. Access to dental care is perceived as a barrier among Alaska Natives generally and elders in particular. Oral health education and prevention messages should utilize the existing belief that keeping natural teeth is important. Public information about available services and transportation logistics may decrease perceived availability barriers.

Cover Page Footnote

We wish to thank Maniilaq Association Dental Clinic for their cooperation and support.

This article was originally published in the Washington University Journal of American Indian & Alaska Native Health.

Original Citation: Adams, Abigail N. and McKenzie, Carly T. (2015) "Oral Health Beliefs of Alaska Native Dental Patients," Washington University Journal of American Indian & Alaska Native Health: Vol. 1: Iss. 1, Article 2. DOI: 10.7936/K72N50P8

DOI

https://doi.org/10.7936/K72N50P8