Purpose: To investigate oral health behaviour and smoking habits among academic staff members in Irans dental schools in relation to their personal and academic background characteristics. Materials and Methods: Out of 15 state dental schools, seven were selected randomly as clusters. All of the educators who were present (total n = 363) were asked to voluntarily fill in a self-administered pre-tested questionnaire. In addition to background and academic characteristics, the questionnaire requested information on smoking habits, oral self-care, and dental check-ups. Recommended oral self-care was defined as brushing at least twice a day and frequent use of fluoridated toothpaste. Chi-square test and binary logistic regression model served for statistical analyses. Results: A total of 291 educators filled in the questionnaire (response rate = 80%). Women reported higher frequencies of brushing (p = 0.001), use of fluoridated toothpaste (p = 0.002), flossing (p < 0.01) and eating sugary snacks (p = 0.01) compared with men. Habitual cigarette and pipe smoking was reported by 22% and 3% of male educators respectively. Familiarity with the field of oral public health correlated to higher frequencies of brushing (p = 0.05) and flossing (p = 0.03). Smoker educators reported less favourable oral self-care habits than non-smokers. Female gender (p = 0.002, OR = 2.7) and familiarity with the oral public health field (p < 0.01, OR = 2.5) were associated with recommended oral self-care criteria. Conclusion: Dental educators should have positive attitudes towards and beliefs in effectiveness of preventive dentistry in order to increase public awareness of its importance.
Keywords: dental education, dental faculty, oral hygiene, preventive dentistry, smoking