Original Research

Caregivers’ knowledge, attitudes, and oral health practices at long-term care facilities in KwaZulu-Natal

Sonam Balwanth, Shenuka Singh
Health SA Gesondheid | Vol 28 | a2147 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hsag.v28i0.2147 | © 2023 Sonam Balwanth, Shenuka Singh | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 August 2022 | Published: 03 March 2023

About the author(s)

Sonam Balwanth, Discipline of Dentistry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Shenuka Singh, Discipline of Dentistry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


Background: Vulnerable individuals residing at long-term care facilities require special oral health consideration. Examining concepts of oral health and hygiene practices of caregivers becomes essential for understanding the quality of oral health services provided to residents.

Aim: This study explored the oral health–related knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) of caregivers.

Setting: Long-term care facilities in the eThekwini District, KwaZulu-Natal.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted at seven long-term care facilities among 188 caregivers who completed a self-administered questionnaire. Data were collated and analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 24. Inferential techniques included an analysis of variance (ANOVA) test. A p-value ≤ 0.05 was considered to be statistically significant.

Results: Participants reported that dentures do not to be cleaned (n = 139; 73.9%). Participants (n = 70; 37.2%) reported that some medications have oral side effects. Most participants (n = 173; 92%) were optimistic about improving their oral health knowledge and skills. Participants (n = 108; 57.4%) only reported flossing when they had food trapped between their teeth. Few participants (n = 30; 16%) reported visiting the dentist every 6 months.

Conclusion: Participants had a positive attitude to improve their oral health-related knowledge and practices. However, the study showed that there is a need to scale-up oral health education and training activities for caregivers.

Contribution: It is envisaged that findings of this study will demonstrate the importance of oral health-related knowledge among caregivers in providing better oral health care through improved attitudes and practices.


caregivers; long-term care; institutionalised residents; oral health care; oral hygiene; oral health knowledge; oral health practices

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being


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