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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 38  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 110-114
 

Parent's attitude toward use of internet for child's oral health and treatment


Department of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, Maulana Azad Institute of Dental Sciences, New Delhi, India

Date of Submission17-Feb-2020
Date of Decision25-May-2020
Date of Acceptance11-May-2020
Date of Web Publication28-Jun-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Gyanendra Kumar
Maulana Azad Institute of Dental Sciences, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/JISPPD.JISPPD_86_20

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   Abstract 


Background: Widespread use of internet in the modern era has allowed increased access to seek medical and dental education by self-education. However, limited evidence is reported regarding the use of internet to gather oral health information by patients reporting to dental hospital in a centrally located institute of New Delhi, India. Aim: The aim of the present cross-sectional study was to evaluate the parental attitude toward the use of internet related to child's oral health and treatment. Design: The data was collected from 500 patients from the Outpatient Department of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, Maulana Azad Institute of Dental Sciences, New Delhi. A self-administered questionnaire with open ended questions assessing parental attitude toward the use of internet for oral health information was designed, and patients willing to participate were included. Materials and Methods: The present cross-sectional study was conducted among 500 parents selected randomly from the Out Patient Department. The participants were given the questionnaire which assessed their attitude towards use of internet related to child's oral health and treatment. The data was collected and statistical analysis was performed. Results: 86% reported to have high school education, 7% to have middle school education, 3% to be diploma holders, 2% to be graduates and postgraduates, and only 2% as professionals. 56.1% of the participants use internet to gather information on oral health, whereas only 41.9% reported that they have access to internet but do not use to search information related to oral health and disease. 26.1% of the participants often search information on internet before consulting a doctor, and 29.3% discuss treatment plan after searching from internet with their doctor. Conclusion: Since the use of internet by younger adults seeking information on oral health seems to be more prevalent among educated people, less prevalence is reported in this study. Majority of the participants were aware regarding the harmful effects of such information and also reported that treatment or medication searched on internet made their problem worse than before.


Keywords: Internet, Oral health, Pediatric


How to cite this article:
Kumar G, Garg A, Goswami M, Rehman F, Bidhan R. Parent's attitude toward use of internet for child's oral health and treatment. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent 2020;38:110-4

How to cite this URL:
Kumar G, Garg A, Goswami M, Rehman F, Bidhan R. Parent's attitude toward use of internet for child's oral health and treatment. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Sep 23];38:110-4. Available from: http://www.jisppd.com/text.asp?2020/38/2/110/288232





   Introduction Top


The use of internet has increased magnificently all over the world in the past two decades.[1] As the accessibility to internet services is increasing, its application in various fields is also emerging. Millions of people all over the world have access to internet facilities and its usage for daily needs. It has been studied that India ranks fourth in the world in terms of internet usage.[1] The increased popularity of cybercafés also played a larger role in fulfilling the requirement of internet services in India.[2]

The usage of internet is very common in the modern era for various reasons, such as for social networking, entertainment, business, seeking information, and money transactions. Furthermore, its use is widely applied in medical sector for creating awareness regarding newer diseases, trends in newer medicine, and health education.[3] It serves to be highly beneficial for doctors to update their knowledge regarding newer guidelines in medical sector for diagnosis and treatment plan of various diseases and awareness, regarding epidemics and pandemics occurring worldwide.[4] It is a very essential platform for people searching information regarding nearby medical facility and diagnostic centers in case of emergency or generally.

However, the usage of internet has impacted some negative aspects as well. It has been reported that there is considerable search regarding oral symptoms and the diseases by the patients.[5] Patients belonging to higher socioeconomic status are more likely to search for cause, effect, and treatment plan of a disease.[2] This practice may create a conflict in the ideology of patients and dissatisfaction on their respective doctor.[2] The aim of the present cross-sectional study is to evaluate the parental attitude toward the use of internet related to child's oral health and treatment in New Delhi.


   Materials and Methods Top


A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted to assess the use of internet on oral health-related information by parents in New Delhi, India. The study protocol was reviewed and approved by the Ethics Board, Maulana Azad Institute of Dental Sciences (MAIDS), India.

Sample selection

Informed consent was obtained from the participants. Participants willing to participate in the study were recruited using simple random sampling from the Outpatient Department (OPD) of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, New Delhi, India. Participants included the parents/guardians of Pediatric patients reported for dental treatment.

Sample size

A sample size of 500 was determined using the nMaster2.0 software (Department of Biostatistics, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India), taking the prevalence of internet usage as 23% found in a sample of 100 patients.[3] Parents/guardians reported in the pediatric OPD for treatment, with internet access, and willing to participate in the study were included, whereas those not reporting for treatment, do not have internet access, and not willing to participate in the study were excluded.

Questionnaire

A structured questionnaire was used for the study after validation. The participants were asked for general demographic information, including age, gender, educational information, and occupation. Open-ended questions related to participants use of internet to gather oral health-related information, use of the internet as a source of information on oral health-related information, and their attitude regarding information found on internet were recorded. The purpose was to depict those items with a high degree of agreement among experts. Alken's-V test was used to quantify the concordance of each item.

Procedure

Participants willing to participate in the study were given self-instructed questionnaire while awaiting for their appointment at the OPD. The interviewer introduced her/himself to all the patients in the OPD. For participants who had doubts, spoken instructions were given. All the patients confirmed their use of the internet. The parents were assured of the confidentiality of their data.

Statistical analysis

Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the continuous variables, such as age, while mean, percentage, and proportion were used to describe the discontinuous variables.


   Results Top


Of total sample of 500, 317 (63.5%) were male and 182 (36.5%) were females with internet accessibility. 410 (82%) were between 20 and 40 years old, 70 (14%) were between 41 and 60 years old, and 20 (4%) were above 60 years of age. 423 (84.60%) participants reported that they have access to internet whereas 76 (15.2%) reported that they do not have access to internet as shown in [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Distribution of participants based on accessibility to internet

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The attitude of the participants regarding internet usage was not correlated with the age of the participants and was insignificant (P > 0.05). It was also found that occupation and education of the participants were not correlated with the attitude (P > 0.05).


   Discussion Top


In the present study, male participants (63.5%) using internet were found more than the female participants (36.5%). This was similar to the study conducted by Aydin et al.,[2] where 43.7% of the participants were male. It was found that 82% of the participants belong to younger age group between 20 and 40 years of age. This was similar to the study conducted by Naganandini et al.[3] in which maximum number of the respondents were aged between 18 and 40 years. Similar findings were seen in the study conducted by Aydin et al.,[2] where maximum number of the respondents were between 25 and 34 years of age. The reason for this could be higher access to the internet among younger people at their place of work and cybercafe. This was in contrast to a study conducted by Gordon et al.,[5] where the median age was 48 years.

The present study examined internet use by diverse group of people reported for dental treatment as a resource for procuring information on oral health. It was reported that around 56.1% of the participants had the access to internet and they use internet to gather information on oral health, whereas only 41.9% reported that they have access to internet but do not use to search information related to oral health and disease as shown in [Table 1]. This is similar to the study conducted by Gordon et al.,[5] where 83% of the participants searched information on arthritis. This was in contrast to the study conducted by Naganandini et al.,[3] in which only 25% reported the use of internet for information on oral health.
Table 1: Distribution of the study population regarding internet use

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Of the total population, the education status was analyzed, as 86% reported to have high school education, 7% to have middle school education, 3% to be diploma holders, 2% to be graduates and postgraduates, and only 2% as professionals as shown in [Figure 2]. In the present study, 69% of the health seekers were reported to be either professionals or graduates and postgraduates and 71% were employed. The result was similar to the study conducted by Aydin et al.,[2] where 63.2% of the health seekers have a university degree and 65.9% were employed. This was also similar to a study conducted by Murero et al.,[6] where 42.9% of the internet users had college education and 10.6% of nonusers had college education. It implies limited access or knowledge to seek health-related information online by lesser-educated people. This indicates that conventional means of patient education are still important. In the present study, it was evident that due to lower education status, the practice of internet usage was less among the participants. Thus, education acts as a barrier to accessing the internet and this could be reason for these differences. However, the level of education is not a predictor of the propensity to use the internet for medical information retrieval: almost half (16/35, 45.7%) of the internet users had either a high school or a college education and did not use the internet for medical information retrieval.[6]
Figure 2: Percentage of internet users seeking oral health information by educational background

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It was found that 26.1% of the participants often search information on internet before consulting the doctor and 29.3% discuss treatment plan after searching from internet with their doctor. This was in contrast to a study conducted by Naganandini et al.,[3] where 66% reported that after obtaining information they discuss with their dentist. Open-ended questions were asked regarding treatment strategies followed by the patients. 32.5% reported that they follow treatment searched on internet instead of visiting doctor as shown in [Table 2], and 20.2% reported that they take medicines after searching on internet instead of getting prescriptions from the doctor as shown in [Table 3].
Table 2: Distribution of the study population regarding treatment plan suggested by doctor

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Table 3: Distribution of the study population regarding treatment followed by patients

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34.3% reported that they suggest the usage of internet for oral health with their friends and colleagues also as shown in [Table 4]. 42.7% reported that they feel treatment or medication from internet source is not appropriate as shown in [Table 5]. As there is significant lack of awareness of authentic, scientifically proven facts and evidence regarding oral health information on various websites, it is important that patients discuss the information obtained online with their dentists and confirm the accuracy of the content.[7] 22 % reported that following treatment plan from internet-made problem worse. Only 38.7% reported that they are satisfied with the practice of searching information on internet as shown in [Table 5].
Table 4: Distribution of the study population regarding internet use and its discussion with friends

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Table 5: Distribution of the study population regarding internet use and its negative impact

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In addition, 34.1% reported that they get anxious after searching information on internet. 45.5% also reported that they find information on internet as useful. as shown in [Table 5] This was similar to the study conducted by Naganandini et al.,[3] where 81.33% reported that after oral health receiving information, changes were observed in participant's behavior. Similar results were found in a study by Christian et al.,[4] where 55% indicated that information they found on web changed the way they thought about their health.[4]

57.7% of the participants felt that there is a need of increasing awareness regarding harmful effects of searching internet as shown in [Table 6]. This is possible only if the patients are guided by dental healthcare professionals to authentic websites where reliable information is posted in a manner that is easy for patients to understand. The patients can be made aware of the quality of information online through educating them. The dental professionals can provide some useful links to the patients to gather appropriate information for oral health.[8],[9],[10]
Table 6: Distribution of the study population regarding need of increasing awareness related to internet use

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The results of this study reflect the current situation in terms of internet usage among people with different educational backgrounds.[3] The situation may be similar across different regions of India as well as in different parts of world. Creating awareness among people of different educational backgrounds through appropriate means (following an individualized approach based on educational qualification) would increase the internet usage for information on oral health.[2]


   Conclusion Top


The study depicted that majority of participants reported to the dental hospital belong to high school educational level; thus, the prevalence of usage of internet seeking oral health information was found less among them. Since the use of internet by younger adults seeking information on oral health seems to be more prevalent among educated people, less prevalence is reported in this study. Majority of the participants were aware regarding the harmful effects of such information and also reported that treatment or medication searched on internet made their problem worse than before. Low socioeconomic status and little education act as barriers to using the internet, which may explain the results of this study. Creating awareness among people of different educational backgrounds through appropriate means would increase internet use for acquiring information on oral health. Models should be developed which can be adapted to the specific requirements of our population. It should be the responsibility of health care professionals to suggest and provide reliable internet URL addresses to patients and users in general. Appropriate search terminology and search strategy should also be suggested to those who want to search beyond the recommended sites.

Why this paper is important to Pediatric dentists?

  • To create awareness among parents that misleading/unreliable information might be available on websites related to oral health and physiology.
  • To make parents understand that the medications prescribed on the internet are irrespective of child's previous history, age, individual drug reactions, and allergies and may alter with the metabolic imbalances within the body, thus making essential to consult pediatric dentist.
  • To make parents understand the need of periodic follow-up to the dentists and the credibility of treatment suggested by pediatric dentists based on their education and experiences.


Acknowledgment

We present our sincere thanks to MAIDS for providing the platform to accomplish this study. Our sincere thanks to all the participants participated in the study for devoting their time while awaiting for their appointment.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
Magunacelaya MB, Glendor U. Surfing for mouth guards: Assessing quality of online information. Dent Traumatol 2011;27:334-43.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Aydin U, Ozturk M, Kirbiyik S. Prevalence of internet usage and access to health information among dental school outpatients. Telemed J E Health 2004;10:444-8.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Naganandini S, Rao R, Kulkarni SB. Survey on the use of the internet as a source of oral health information among dental patients in Bangalore City, India. Oral Health Prev Dent 2014;12:141-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Christian SM, Kieffer SA, Leonard NJ. Medical genetics and patient use of the internet. Clin Genet 2001;60:232-6.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Gordon MM, Capell HA, Madhok R. The use of the internet as a resource for health information among patients attending a rheumatology clinic. Rheumatology (Oxford) 2002;41:1402-5.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Murero M, D'Ancone G, Karamanukian H. Use of the internet by patients before and after cardiac surgery: Telephone survey. J Med Internet Res 2001;3:e27.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Duffy CC, McLernon NF, D'Orsogna LJ, Reagan SJ, Spry N, Joseph DJ, et al. Internet use by radiation oncology patients: A pilot study. Med J Aust 2000;172:350-1.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Metz JM, Devine P, DeNittis A, Stambaugh M, Jones H, Goldwein J, et al. Internet utilization by radiation oncology patients. Intl J Radiat Oncol Biol Physics 2001;51:100-1.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Jiang YL. Quality evaluation of orthodontic information on the World Wide Web. Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop 2000;118:4-9.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Beredjiklian PK, Bozentka DJ, Steinberg DR, Bernstein J. Evaluating the source and content of orthopaedic information on the Internet. The case of carpal tunnel syndrome. J Bone Joint Surg Am 2000;82:1540-3.  Back to cited text no. 10
    


    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6]



 

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