Method: Cross-sectional study of 62 (68%) of the first and 47 (47%) of the final (6th) year dental students was conducted to compare differences in oral health behavior and plaque index values. The subjects were surveyed using the Hiroshima University Dental Behavior Inventory (HU-DBI) questionnaire (20 Items). Plaque levels were determined for each participant by using the modified Greene – Vermillion method. A multivariate binary logistic regression analysis was performed to determine the differences in statements between the first and final year students, and t-test at the level of significance of p≤0.05 was used to determine the difference in plaque values.
Result: Mean HU-DBI score of the final year students was significantly higher compared to the first year students which amounted to 8.06 and 6.45, respectively. A significantly larger number of first year students think that they cannot avoid having false teeth when they get old (p=0.007), have never been taught professionally how to brush (p=0.019), and use a hard bristles toothbrush (p=0.001). A significantly larger number of final year students brush each of their teeth carefully (p=0.008), think they can clean their teeth well without using tooth paste (p=0.000), have used a dye to see how clean their teeth were (p=0.002), and have had their dentist told them that they brushed their teeth very well (p=0.028).
Plaque index values were significantly lower (p<0.05) among the first year students (1.32) than among the final year students (1.52).
Conclusion: With advancement in dental training, the dental students' oral health knowledge improved, but the level of their oral hygiene decreased. Motivation and education in self-oral care regimes should be included in the undergraduate curriculum.