An exploration of the oral health beliefs and behaviors of people living with HIV in Mangalore, India: a qualitative study

BMC Oral Health. 2021 Apr 30;21(1):222. doi: 10.1186/s12903-021-01549-5.


Introduction: People living with HIV (PLWHIV) have increased oral healthcare needs due to an increase in the prevalence of oral and dental diseases. Their oral health is influenced by psychosocial, behavioral and biologic factors. The aim of this study was to explore and obtain a deeper understanding of the oral health beliefs and behaviors of PLWHIV that could potentially affect their oral health.

Methods: We have used the Health Belief Model (HBM) and qualitative methods using in-depth interviews with 16 PLWHIV. Content analysis of the transcribed data was done. The data was grouped under the constructs of the HBM.

Findings: The perceived susceptibility to oral diseases and awareness on the importance of good oral health was low. Regular tooth brushing and traditional methods for oral hygiene maintenance were considered beneficial. Regular dental visits were not considered important. Psychosocial issues, time and financial constraints were the barriers. Participants believed that information on oral health should be provided by the health providers in hospitals and dental clinics. CONCLUSION: The findings on the oral health beliefs and behaviors support the need for education on oral health and preventive healthcare practices among PLWHIV. Oral health promotion should include behavioral change as one of its components.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • HIV Infections*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Oral Health*
  • Oral Hygiene
  • Qualitative Research