Qualification: 
MDS
rvenkitachalam@aims.amrita.edu

Dr. R. Venkitachalam completed his BDS in 2014 from Indira Gandhi Institute of Dental Sciences, Kothamangalam, Kerala and his MDS in Public Health Dentistry in 2017 from Amrita School of Dentistry, Kochi, Kerala. He is currently working as Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health Dentistry.

His areas of interest include dental public health, research methodology, biostatistics, health systems research, clinical trials, research ethics, school health programs, public health activities and programs. He is a recipient of several best paper presentations and has received bursary grants to attend various national and international conferences. He is actively involved in academic and clinical activities of the dental school and involved in the planning and execution of several research projects and public health programs.

Professional Experience

  • December 2017 - Present: Assistant Professor in Department of Public Health Dentistry, Amrita School of Dentistry, Kochi, Kerala.
  • March 2013 – March 2014: One-year internship at Indira Gandhi Institute of Dental Sciences, Kothamangalam, Kerala.

Projects

  • Consultant for the Ph.D. project of Dr. Induja Devan (ICMR Nurturing Clinical Scientist) on the topic: Comparison of various frequencies of 38% Silver Diamine Fluoride applications for dental caries caseation in tribal children in India
  • Covident (COVID Evidence for Dentists) – Rapid Organic Review.

Publications

Publication Type: Journal Article

Year of Publication Title

2020

N. M. A., Gireesh, G., Mathew, M. Maria, and Dr. R. Venkitachalam, “Oral health care-seeking behaviour and influencing factors among 18-34 years old women in Kochi, India”, International Journal Community Med Public Health, 2020.[Abstract]


Background: Oral health, though an integral part of general health, is accorded low priority and remains an issue of neglect. Women during their reproductive years suffer from various oral problems that warrant timely utilization of care. Understanding factors affecting health-seeking behavior is necessary. The objective of this study was to determine the personal level and system-level factors that affect utilization of oral health care among 18-34 year-old women visiting a dental health care facility.

Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire-based study was conducted among 18-34 year old women. Participants were recruited using convenience sampling from a tertiary dental health care facility. A Chi-square test was used to determine the association of sociodemographic variables on factors affecting the utilization of oral care.

Results: A total of 194 responses were obtained. The mean age of study participants was 27.1±5.2 years. Around 62% of women suffered from multiple dental problems in the past year of which tooth decay and swelling of gums were most common. About 68% of them sought treatment with a dentist. Half of the respondents were themselves responsible for making health care decisions. 55% of the participants reported barriers in availing dental care. The cost of dental treatment, fear of pain, and lack of time were the most commonly reported barriers.

Conclusions: Oral health-seeking behaviour among women was found to be good with regard to dental attendance. Personal level barriers were greater than system-level barriers in availing dental care.

More »»

2020

K. Khubchandani, M., K. Devi, Gunasekaran, S., Yeturu, S. Kumar, and Dr. R. Venkitachalam, “Knowledge, attitude, and practices of biomedical waste management among clinical dental students”, Journal of Global Oral Health, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 110 - 117, 2020.[Abstract]


OBJECTIVES:
The health-care sector generates enormous amount of biomedical waste (BMW) and dental waste forms a subset of this hazardous waste. It is, therefore, imperative for the upcoming dental health professionals to be aware of the hazards related to improper waste management and the existing rules and regulations for the same. To gauge the gaps in knowledge and find ways to rectify the same, the aim of this study was to assess the knowledge, attitude, and practice of biomedical waste management among dental students.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
A cross-sectional study was carried out in a dental teaching hospital, wherein a pre-validated and tested, structured closed-ended questionnaire was adopted and given to the clinical students of dentistry. The responses were self-recorded by the participants after which statistical analysis was carried out using Chi-square test to compare the levels of knowledge, attitude, and practice among the study groups.
RESULTS:
Out of 168 participants, 97% agreed that waste needs to be segregated but 70% were unaware of the legislations regarding BMW management. About half of the participants across all groups gave incorrect responses regarding correct disposal of various types of wastes. Only 10.1% of students correctly disposed mercury. Among the study groups, postgraduate students fared better than house surgeons and students. More than 90% of students believed that they required additional training in BMW management.
CONCLUSION:
An overall positive attitude was seen among all students toward safe management of BMW. However, their knowledge and practice toward the same calls for attention on the part of educational institutions in providing continuous educational programs and monitoring the correct disposal of wastes. This was validated by the fact that increase in educational qualification showed better performance toward this subject.

More »»

2020

Dr. R. Venkitachalam and Rajeev, K., “Sociodemographic profile of tobacco use and its predictors in Kerala, India”, Popular Medicine, 2020.[Abstract]


Introduction:
The burden of tobacco use is high in India. Tobacco use behaviour is influenced by sociodemographic factors. The Indian state of Kerala is considered unique compared to the rest of India in having high social development indices. The objective of this study was to explore the sociodemographic factors affecting tobacco use and its predictors in Kerala.

Methods:
A cross-sectional study was conducted using data obtained from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2 (2016-2017) for the state of Kerala in India. Questions from the survey pertaining to sociodemographic characteristics (age, gender, area of residence, marital status, religion, education level, and employment status) were selected and served as independent variables. Outcomes are reported as odds ratios.

Results:
A total of 2186 individuals (783 men and 1403 women) participated in GATS-2 of Kerala state. People aged <45 years were less likely to be smokers (OR=0.54; 95% CI:0.39–0.75) and smokeless tobacco users (OR=0.20; 95% CI:0.12–0.33). Men were more likely to use tobacco compared to women (OR=189.9; 95% CI: 46.95–768.10 for smoking tobacco, and OR=2.29; 95% CI: 1.55–3.38 for smokeless forms).
 

More »»

2020

Dr. R. Venkitachalam, Vineetha Karuveettil, Sanjeevan, V., Antony, B. K., Varghese, N. Jacob, and Padamadan, H. Joseph, “Measuring dental diseases: A critical review of indices in dental practice and research”, Amrita Journal Medicine, 2020.[Abstract]


Dental indices are tools used to quantify dental diseases thereby cross comparisons can be made based on disease burden and treatment efficacy. In dental literature, there exists an ambiguity on selecting the ideal scale or index to measure dental diseases. This is because of the availability of different indices and the lack of standardization among dental associations in measuring diseases. This warrants the need for a critical assessment of available indices commonly used in dental research and clinical practice. The critical appraisal of indices used for measuring oral hygiene, dental caries, gingival disease, periodontal disease, dental fluorosis, malocclusion, enamel defects, and tooth wear is attempted in this study.

More »»

2020

Dr. R. Venkitachalam, Vaidya, R. Yatindra, Shivani, V. M. R., Santosh, S., Gaupiysunder, P. Tiruchirap, and Anil, A., “Knowledge of nutrition among students in a dental teaching institution in Kerala”, Amrita Journal Medicine, 2020.[Abstract]


Basic education about nutrition can be extremely beneficial for medical and dental professionals. It is very important that, dental students are taught about nutrition during their course of study as this will help in developing a holistic approach in treating patients. As limited literature is available regarding the nutritional knowledge among dental students, the present study was done to assess the same among students in a dental teaching institution. Materials and Methods: The awareness of dietary recommendations, knowledge of food sources and nutrients and diet–disease relationship was assessed among clinical students of a dental teaching institute in Kerala, through a 13-point self-administered questionnaire. Analysis was done based on two groups (undergraduate [UG] students and post-graduate [PG] students). Results: A total number of 140 responses were obtained. UG students comprised 31.4% while PG students comprised 68.6% of the study population. Majority (>75%) of the participants in both groups (UG and PG) felt that there is a need to consume more vegetables and fibers and less amounts of sugary and fatty foods. Among the PG students, most respondents (36%) opined that sugar contained more calories for the same weight while 34% of PG students and 44% of UG students reported that starchy food contained more calories. While more than 95% of participants associated diabetes to sugar consumption, there was a mixed response for kidney disease (47.7% in PG and 53.1% in UG; P < 0.026) and heart diseases (40.9% in PG and 38.5% in UG), respectively. Conclusion: The knowledge among dental students about dietary recommendations, knowledge of food sources and nutrients and diet–disease relationship was found to be satisfactory.

More »»

2020

V. Sanjeevan, Rajagopal, P., Dr. R. Venkitachalam, and Aras, M., “Efficiency of simplified versus traditional denture fabrication methods: A systematic review and meta-analysis”, The Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry, 2020.[Abstract]


Statement of problem Conventional techniques (CTs) for complete denture fabrication involve a series of clinical and laboratory steps. A simplification of this process has been advocated, but whether simplified techniques result in acceptable treatment outcomes is unclear. Purpose The purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to evaluate the efficiency of simplified denture fabrication techniques in comparison with CTs. Material and Methods The standard methodological procedures prescribed by the Cochrane Collaboration for systematic review and meta-analysis were used. An electronic search (MEDLINE through PubMed, Cochrane trial registry, and Scopus) and a manual search up to February 2020 were made to identify studies. Only randomized controlled trials involving edentulous adults requiring complete denture treatment were included. Results Nineteen studies met the inclusion criteria. The pooled estimate of the included studies for patient satisfaction at 6 months marginally favored the simplified method of denture fabrication (standardized mean difference=0.02 [95% confidence interval CI -0.22 to 0.27]). The pooled estimate of the included studies for clinical time and cost of fabrication favored the simplified method (mean difference=-77.34 [95% CI -122.45 to -32.24] and mean difference=-85.89 [95% CI -170.02 to -1.77] respectively). Conclusions Simplified techniques were cost effective and less time consuming than the CT, with no significant difference in patient satisfaction or oral health-related quality of life. The high risk of bias and heterogeneity among studies requires that the results be considered cautiously.

More »»

2020

Chandrashekar Janakiram, Nayar, S., Varma, B., Dr. R. Venkitachalam, Anil Mathew, Suresh, R., and Puttaiah, R., “Dental Care Implications in Coronavirus Disease-19 Scenario: Perspectives”, The journal of contemporary dental practice, vol. 21, pp. 935-41, 2020.[Abstract]


Aim: The aim of this review is to discuss the implications of COVID-19 on various aspects of dental care. Background: The COVID-19 pandemic had suspended dental practice globally for over 3 months. While dental practice is being resumed cautiously, standard infection control protocols that were traditionally overlooked are now being strictly implemented. Post-COVID-19, dental care is expected to see a drastic change in the way it is practiced. Review results: With a view on the natural history and disease dynamics of COVID-19, this review reports various aspects of dental care, viz., patient triaging, engineering and work practice controls, and administrative, financial, and ethical aspects of dental care during and after COVID-19 pandemic. Current evidence-based recommendations with regard to infection-control practices are discussed. A call for universal oral health care with suggestions regarding integration of medical and health care is also proposed. Conclusion: COVID-19 is expected to be a watershed moment in the field of dentistry. While we expect to see positive changes in safe delivery of dental care, an increase in cost of availing care is imminent. Clinical significance: The practice of dentistry

More »»

2020

Chandrashekar Janakiram, Mehta, A., and Dr. R. Venkitachalam, “Prevalence of periodontal disease among adults in India: A systematic review and meta-analysis”, Journal of Oral Biology and Craniofacial Research, vol. 10, pp. 800 - 806, 2020.[Abstract]


Objective We designed this systematic review of the available literature to measure the pooled prevalence of periodontal disease among Indian adults. Methods An electronic search was conducted for studies assessing the prevalence of periodontal disease (gingivitis and periodontitis) in India. The search yielded forty studies, of which thirty eligible cross-sectional studies assessing the prevalence among those 18 years and above were included. The methodological quality of the included studies was assessed. Meta-analyses were conducted for periodontitis outcomes, stratified for different covariates like age groups, gender, geographic region, population group, type of index and study quality. Pooled prevalence was used to estimate overall effect, with 95% confidence intervals (CI). Results A total of 92,219 adults participated in 30 studies included for qualitative analysis. Studies utilizing convenience sampling were excluded from quantitative analysis. Pooled prevalence estimates of periodontitis and gingivitis were assessed on from 24 to 21 studies respectively. We found that overall prevalence of periodontal disease was 51% (CI: 41.9-60.1) and gingivitis was 46.6% (CI: 37.8-55.5). Prevalence of mild to moderate periodontitis was 26.2% (CI: 21.1-31.6), while for severe periodontitis it was 19% (CI: 14.3-24.2). Participants 65 years or above had highest proportion of severe periodontitis (32.7%, CI: 23.7-42.5). Urban population showed the highest prevalence of mild to moderate periodontitis 22.7% (CI: 17.3-28.5). Females had lower prevalence (34.4%) of the periodontitis than males (42.2%). The methodological heterogeneity of included studies was low. Conclusion Half of Indian adults suffer from some form of periodontal disease. There is need to adopt uniform and accurate measurement tools for recording periodontal condition.

More »»

2020

Dr. R. Venkitachalam, R, S., and L, P., “Protective masks in dental practice”, Malanadu Dental Journal , no. 9(1), pp. 59-62, 2020.

2020

Dr. R. Venkitachalam, C, J., P, F., TJ, I., and BA, D., “Effectiveness of herbal oral care products in reducing dental plaque & gingivitis - a systematic review and meta-analysis”, BMC Complement Med Ther , 2020.[Abstract]


Abstract

Background: Despite the large number of trials conducted using herbal oral care products for the reduction of dental plaque or gingivitis, results are conflicting and inconclusive.

Objective: To assess the effectiveness of herbal oral care products compared to conventional products in reducing dental plaque and gingivitis adults.

Methods: We searched the following databases for Randomised controlled trials (RCTs): MEDLINE Ovid, EMBASE Ovid etc. which yielded 493 trails. Of which 24 RCTs comparing herbal toothpaste or mouth rinse with over the counter toothpaste or mouth rinse in adults aged 18 to 65 years were included. Two authors extracted information and assessed the methodological quality of the included studies using Risk of Bias. Meta-analyses using the random-effects model were conducted for four outcomes for tooth paste and mouth rinse respectively. Mean difference (MD) or standardized mean difference (SMD) were used to estimate the effect, with 95% confidence intervals.

Results: A total of 1597 adults participated in 24 RCT studies. These were classified as herbal toothpaste (HTP) (15 trials, 899 participants) and herbal mouth rinse (HMR) (9 trials, 698 participants) compared with non-herbal toothpaste (NHTP) or non-herbal mouth rinse (NHMR). We found that HTP was superior over NHTP (SMD 1.95, 95% CI (0.97-2.93)) in plaque reduction. The long-term use of NHMR was superior in reduction of dental plaque over HMR (SMD -2.61, 95% (CI 4.42-0.80)). From subgroup analysis it showed that HTP was not superior over fluoride toothpaste (SMD 0.99, 95% CI (0.14-2.13)) in reducing dental plaque. However, HTP was favoured over non-fluoride toothpaste (SMD 4.64, 95% CI (2.23-7.05)).

Conclusion: For short-term reduction in dental plaque, current evidence suggests that HTP is as effective as compared to NHTP; however, evidence is from low quality studies.

More »»

2020

Dr. R. Venkitachalam, V, C., M, M., B, V., and V, S., “Effect of LASER therapy Vs conventional techniques on clinical and radiographic outcomes of deciduous molar pulpotomy: A systematic review and meta-analysis”, Journal Clinical Experimental Dentistry, 2020.[Abstract]


Background

To systematically review the effectiveness primary molar pulpotomy based on the clinical and radiographic outcomes using lasers over the conventional therapies.

Material and Methods

This systematic review and meta-analysis included Randomized or Quasi-randomized trials comparing LASER with conventional pulpotomy therapies (formocresol, ferric sulphate, MTA or calcium hydroxide) with atleast 6-month follow-up period was included. Risk of bias of included studies was assessed and metanalysis was done using RevMan software.

Results

Of the 1383 articles that were searched, only 14 studies were included for qualitative synthesis and 10 for meta- analysis. There was no statistically significant difference in clinical success rate [OR 0.99, 95%CI (0.19,5.22)] or radiographic success rate [OR 0.77, 95%CI (0.31,1.87)] of LASER therapy compared to Formocresol in primary molar pulpotomy for 6 months. No statistically significant difference were found in clinical success rate [OR 1.04, 95%CI (0.35,3.07)] and radiographic success rate [OR 0.71, 95%CI (0.37,1.35)] at 12 month follow-up also. Comparison of LASER with Ferric Sulphate also did not show a statistically significant difference.

Conclusions

Meta-analysis showed no statistically significant difference in clinical and radiographic outcomes of LASER pulpotomy with conventional pulpotomy (formocresol and ferric sulphate) at 6 and 12 months follow-up. However, there was considerable risk of bias in the included studies.

More »»

2020

Dr. R. Venkitachalam, K, K., J, J., V, R., and C, J., “Oral health care system analysis: A case study from India”, Journal Family Medicine and Primary Care, 2020.[Abstract]


Objectives:

The health system of Kerala, India has won many accolades in having health indicators comparable to developed countries. But oral health has not received its due importance at the policy level. With the burden of oral diseases on the rise in the state, a critical introspection of the existing system is warranted. The objective of this review was to assess the oral health care system in Kerala to provide policy solutions.

Methods:

This study adopted a mixed methodological approach that gathered information from the primary and secondary sources, which included health facility surveys, key informant interviews, review of published literature, and websites of governmental and non-governmental bodies. The WHO framework of health system building blocks was adapted for the assessment.

Results:

A review of epidemiological studies conducted in Kerala suggests that the prevalence of oral diseases is high with the prevalence of dental caries at the age of 12 years ranging from 37-69%. The state has a dentist population ratio of 1:2200 which is well within the prescribed ratio by WHO (1:7500). Only 2% of dentists in Kerala work with government sector catering to 0.6 million of the approximately 33.4 million population. This point to the absence of oral care in first contact levels like primary health centers. Service delivery is chiefly through the private sector and payment for dental care is predominantly through out-of-pocket expenditure.

Conclusion:

Despite having the best health indicators, the oral health system of Kerala is deficient in many aspects. Reorientation of oral health services is required to combat the burden of diseases.

More »»

2020

Chandrashekar Janakiram, Varghese, N., Dr. R. Venkitachalam, Joseph, J., and Vineetha Karuveettil, “Comparison of modified Bass, Fones and normal tooth brushing technique for the efficacy of plaque control in young adults- A randomized clinical trial.”, J Clin Exp Dent, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. e123-e129, 2020.[Abstract]


Background: To compare the anti plaque efficacy of Modified Bass, Fones and Normal brushing techniques in young adults.

Material and Methods: An investigator blinded randomized controlled trial with parallel design was adopted to compare the anti plaque efficacy of three tooth brushing techniques. The study population consisted of 120 dental students aged between 18 and 30 years.

Results: At the baseline, the mean plaque scores were 0.74 ± 0.39, 0.77 ± 0.34 and 0.98 ± 0.36 respectively, for Modified Bass, Fones and Normal brushing technique. After 24 hours without any oral hygiene activity, the plaque scores increased to 1.04 ± 0.30, 1.11 ± 0.32 and 1.21 ± 0.40, respectively. After 1 week of using the intervention, the mean plaque scores were 0.78 ± 0.36, 0.94 ± 0.34 and 1.03 ± 0.43, respectively and increased to 1.13 ± 0.44, 1.14 ± 0.40 and 1.08 ± 0.34 after 28 days. The mean gingival scores were 0.23 ± 0.66, 0.02 ± 0.52 and 0.42 ± 0.74 for Modified Bass, Fones and Normal Brushing technique during baseline visit and after 28 days.

Conclusions: There was a significant reduction in the amount of plaque with the three brushing techniques. Although the short-term outcomes with the Modified Bass method were promising, a long-term effect was not evident. Further, there was no significant difference in plaque control between the three groups. Gingival scores, plaque scores, tooth brushing techniques, young adults.

More »»

2020

Chandrashekar Janakiram, Dr. R. Venkitachalam, Fontelo, P., Iafolla, T. J., and Dye, B. A., “Effectiveness of herbal oral care products in reducing dental plaque & gingivitis - a systematic review and meta-analysis.”, BMC Complement Med Ther, vol. 20, no. 1, p. 43, 2020.[Abstract]


BACKGROUND: Despite the large number of trials conducted using herbal oral care products for the reduction of dental plaque or gingivitis, results are conflicting and inconclusive.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the effectiveness of herbal oral care products compared to conventional products in reducing dental plaque and gingivitis adults.

METHODS: We searched the following databases for Randomised controlled trials (RCTs): MEDLINE Ovid, EMBASE Ovid etc. which yielded 493 trails. Of which 24 RCTs comparing herbal toothpaste or mouth rinse with over the counter toothpaste or mouth rinse in adults aged 18 to 65 years were included. Two authors extracted information and assessed the methodological quality of the included studies using Risk of Bias. Meta-analyses using the random-effects model were conducted for four outcomes for tooth paste and mouth rinse respectively. Mean difference (MD) or standardized mean difference (SMD) were used to estimate the effect, with 95% confidence intervals.

RESULTS: A total of 1597 adults participated in 24 RCT studies. These were classified as herbal toothpaste (HTP) (15 trials, 899 participants) and herbal mouth rinse (HMR) (9 trials, 698 participants) compared with non-herbal toothpaste (NHTP) or non-herbal mouth rinse (NHMR). We found that HTP was superior over NHTP (SMD 1.95, 95% CI (0.97-2.93)) in plaque reduction. The long-term use of NHMR was superior in reduction of dental plaque over HMR (SMD -2.61, 95% (CI 4.42-0.80)). From subgroup analysis it showed that HTP was not superior over fluoride toothpaste (SMD 0.99, 95% CI (0.14-2.13)) in reducing dental plaque. However, HTP was favoured over non-fluoride toothpaste (SMD 4.64, 95% CI (2.23-7.05)).

CONCLUSION: For short-term reduction in dental plaque, current evidence suggests that HTP is as effective as compared to NHTP; however, evidence is from low quality studies.

More »»

2019

Dr. R. Venkitachalam, A., P., H, C., and J., J., “Prevalence of tobacco use and attitudes towards tobacco cessation counsel-ling among healthcare professionals: A cross sectional study”, Amrita J Med, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 7–11, 2019.

2019

K. K. Aswini, Dr. R. Venkitachalam, Rejithan, A., Sajeev, R., and Suresh, R., “The effect of gender and clinical experience on shade perception”, Journal of Esthetic and Restorative Dentistry, vol. 31, pp. 608-612, 2019.[Abstract]


Abstract Objective Shade matching is a critical procedure in prosthetic dentistry. The correct identification of the shade by the doctor as well as the perception of the shade by the dental technician becomes critical due to the high patient expectations. The current study aims to evaluate the effect of gender and clinical experience on shade perception by dental professionals. Materials and Methods A total of 100 dental professionals with normal color vision who were categorized as dental students, dental doctors, and dental specialists were included in the study. Masked A2 and B2 shades tabs were made to match with a complete set of shade guide. The obtained data were entered, coded, and analyzed using SPSS version 17 for Windows. Results Total number of participants who identified both shade tabs correctly was 44%. There were no statistically significant differences among the gender or the clinical experience with regard to correct identification of shade tabs. Conclusion Within its limitations of fewer number (two) of shade tabs for comparison, the study concludes that multiple opinions may be taken clinically irrespective of the gender or clinical experience as gender and experience do not have a significant role to play for shade matching in prosthetic and restorative dentistry.

More »»

2019

J. Joseph, Dr. Sravan Kumar, Kumar, V. S., Vineetha Karuveettil, Padamadan, H. Joseph, Malliga, V., and Dr. R. Venkitachalam, “Curbing oral disease burden in India: Recommendations for integrating dentistry into public Health”, Journal of Indian Association of Public Health Dentistry, no. Issue 3, p. Vol. 17, 2019.[Abstract]


To tackle the combined burden of oral diseases and other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), a comprehensive and integrated approach by focusing on common modifiable risk factors and social determinants is of importance. Experts from the field of dental public health and public health deliberated on finding common grounds for linking oral health and NCDs during theFirst Amrita International Public Health Conference 2018, Kochi. A symposium on oral health - a public health problem, panel discussion on NCD and oral health and a key note lecture on Universal Oral Health Coverage were conducted as a part of the conference. The following are the highlights of the scientific deliberations held during the conference.

Continuing surveillance of levels and patterns of various oral diseases is required for planning and evaluating community-based health promotion. Unfortunately, India has only a single nation-wide oral health survey to date. Therefore, integration of oral health with NCDs prevention program will be successful only if surveillance of oral disease is also concurrently done.[1] Persistent and consequential oral health inequities exist...

More »»

2019

V. Chandran, R Varma, B., Teena Mary Joy, Dr. R. Venkitachalam, Bhat Sangeetha Govinda, and Menon, M. Madhava, “Parental knowledge, attitude, and practice regarding the importance of primary dentition of their children in Kerala, India”, Journal of Indian Association of Public Health Dentistry, vol. 17, p. 247, 2019.

2019

Dr. R. Venkitachalam, Sanjeevan, V., and R, A., “Barriers to Tobacco Cessation Advice among Clinical Dental Students: A cross-sectional study”, Amrita Journal Medicine, 2019.

2019

Dr. R. Venkitachalam and Venkatesh, N., “Universal oral health coverage: An Indian perspective”, Journal of Indian Association of Public Health Dentistry, 2019.[Abstract]


The year 2018-19 brings a lot of hope with the improvement of health-care services across the globe and particularly in India. The World Health Organization's (WHO) Health Day's theme for this year is 'Universal Health Coverage' (UHC)[1] which put in simple terms is ensuring that everyone, everywhere, can access essential quality health services without facing financial hardship. This concept of UHC is based on the constitution of the WHO (1948) which considers health as a fundamental human right and on the Alma Ata declaration with the agenda of Health for All.[2] Worldover, there has been a call for UHC to ensure not only health but also social and economic development.

More »»

2019

Chandrashekar Janakiram, Taha, F., Joseph, J., and Dr. R. Venkitachalam, “Assessment of Common Risk Factors Between Oral Diseases and Non-communicable Diseases in a Hospital-based Population in Kerala, India-A Cross-sectional Study”, Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, vol. 13, pp. 16-20, 2019.[Abstract]


Introduction: Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) have assumed epidemic proportions around the world. Oral diseases also pose tremendous physical and emotional burden on the people. Both these conditions (NCDs and oral diseases), are largely caused by a cluster of risk factors like tobacco, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol (to name a few!). Aim: The objective of the study was to assess the common risk factors between Non- Communicable diseases (cardiovascular diseases, pulmonary diseases, diabetes mellitus type 2 and stroke); and oral diseases. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted with a sample of 280 patients in four NCDs groups like cardiovascular diseases, pulmonary diseases, diabetes mellitus type 2 and stroke. The risk factors for each of NCDs disease were assessed by their medical records, interview of the Physician and patients. In the same patients, oral disease risk factors were assessed and enumerated by clinical examination and a validated clinical questionnaire. Descriptive statistics were used with the demographic data. Cohen’s Kappa was used to assess the degree of agreement for the risk factor to be common to both the NCDs and oral diseases. Results: History of smoking was the most common risk factor between dental caries and diabetes mellitus type 2 (agreement of 15%).Cardiac valve abnormalities were a common risk factor between dental caries and stroke with a 31% degree of agreement. Diabetes as a common risk factor between dental caries and MI had a degree of agreement of 44%.Asthma and oral diseases (dental caries and periodontal diseases) had obesity, history of smoking and positive family history as common risk factors. Conclusion: Smoking is the most common risk factor across the oral diseases and all the six NCDs included in the study followed by family history, obesity, hypercholesterolemia, high blood pressure, diabetes and excessive alcoholism. Thus, oral disease prevention programs can be integrated with the NCD prevention programs.

More »»

2019

H. Padamadan Joseph, Dr. R. Venkitachalam, Joseph, J., and Chandrashekar Janakiram, “Health Promoting Schools in Kerala, India.”, Indian J Community Med, vol. 44, no. Suppl 1, pp. S38-S41, 2019.[Abstract]


Introduction: Health promoting school (HPS) is a holistic concept where health and learning coexist. The objective of this study was to assess the health promoting standards of schools in Kerala.

Methodology: A cross-sectional study was designed in Kerala, India, with schools in Kerala as a study unit. A questionnaire which consisted of 37 items across eight domains of the HPS concept was developed and validated. The schools were then graded into compliant and not compliant categories based on scores obtained. Bivariate and multivariate analysis was also done.

Results: Of 120 schools, 90.8% were compliant toward health education domain and only 8.3% were compliant with nutrition services. Majority of schools showed compliance with the other six domains. Average overall scores were 153 (58.8%) with the equal number of schools in both compliant and not compliant categories. There was a significant association between health education and physical education domain with respect to the type of school, i.e., privately managed had six times more chances of being compliant toward health education domain compared to government schools (odds ratio [OR] 6.05; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.10-33.29). Hence, also private schools had two times more chance of being compliant toward physical education compared to government schools (OR 2.52; 95% CI 1.0 - 4.32). Physical education domain showed a significant association with respect to geographic region, i.e., the schools in North Kerala were found to be three times more compliant compared to South Kerala (OR 3.48; 95% CI 1.05-11.53).

Conclusions: Despite the good health and social indicators in Kerala, there is a deficiency in schools promoting health of children. A coordinated effort by the government and the education system can convert existing schools into health promoting.

More »»

2019

Dr. R. Venkitachalam, Chandrashekar Janakiram, Vinita, S., Joseph, J., Antony, B., Varghese, N., Vineetha Karuveettil, Joseph, H., and Dr. Sravan Kumar, “Community Health Diagnosis in a Tribal Hamlet-A Case Study from India”, Indian Journal of Public Health Research & Development, vol. 10, p. 123, 2019.[Abstract]


Community Health Diagnosis in a Tribal Hamlet–A Case Study from IndiaVenkitachalam Ramanarayanan1, Chandrashekar Janakiram2, Vinita Sanjeevan3, Joe Joseph4, Bobby Antony5, Naveen Varghese6, Vineetha K6, Heljo Joseph6, Sravan Kumar Yeturu71Assistant Professor, 2Professor, 3Postgraduate Student, 4Professor and Head of Department, Department of Public Health Dentistry, Amrita School of Dentistry, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, AIMS, Kochi, 5Senior Lecturer, Department of Public Health Dentistry, Royal Dental College, Chalissery PO, Palakkad; 6Postgraduate Student, 7Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health Dentistry, Amrita School of Dentistry, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, AIMS, Kochi, Kerala, IndiaABSTRACTThis is an account of a Community Health Diagnosis program conducted in a tribal hamlet in Kerala,

More »»

2018

Dr. R. Venkitachalam, “Antibiotic Stewardship – Lets join the movement”, Bulletin of Indian Dental Association Kochi , 2018.

2018

Dr. R. Venkitachalam, “Softwares and web-based applications: Essential tools for Researchers.”, Malanadu Dental Journal , no. 7(2), pp. 80-85, 2018.

2018

V. Naveen Jacob, Dr. R. Venkitachalam, Chandrashekar Janakiram, and Joe, J., “Assessment of Quality of Prescription Writing among Dental and Medical Students and Practitioners in Kerala.”, J Nat Sci Biol Med, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 27-33, 2018.[Abstract]


Background: The medical prescription is a valid and legal document. Prescriptions can also be used as a measure of the quality of medical education, observance of the laws and regulations, and sociocultural beliefs.

Aims: To assess the quality of prescription written by dental and medical students and practitioners.

Settings and Design: A cross-sectional study was conducted in three dental and two medical colleges in Kerala covering 345 participants (dental - 235 and medical - 110).

Materials and Methods: Simulation exercise was conducted for drafting a model prescription based on a given clinical condition. The variables were identified based on the model prescription format by the Medical Council of India and were classified into four domains. Points were assigned for each variable.

Statistical Analysis Used: Analysis was performed using descriptive statistics and Mann-Whitney U-test.

Results and Conclusion: The total scores were found to be higher among dental fraternity (10.93 ± 2.88) to medical (10.81 ± 2.55). The medical house surgeons and postgraduates fared better in the doctor identification domain. Among the dental professionals, there was a significant difference among the undergraduates (mean score = 1.91) and postgraduates (mean score = 1.60) in the doctor identification domain. However, among the medical professionals, in the patient identification domain, house surgeons had a significantly higher score compared to postgraduates. There were no significant differences in quality of prescription writing among medical and dental professionals.

More »»

2018

Chandrashekar Janakiram, Dr. R. Venkitachalam, J, J., S, V., and JV, N., “Comparison of antiplaque efficacy of toothpaste and toothpowder in young adults: A randomized controlled single blinded equivalence trial”, Journal of International Academy of Periodontology , vol. 20, 4 vol., pp. 116-122, 2018.

2018

Chandrashekar Janakiram, Antony, B., Joseph, J., and Dr. R. Venkitachalam, “Prevalence of Dental Caries in India among the WHO Index Age Groups: A Meta-Analysis”, JOURNAL OF CLINICAL AND DIAGNOSTIC RESEARCH, vol. 12, 2018.[Abstract]


Introduction: Dental caries is widely prevalent globally but the distribution and severity of dental caries varies across countries and regions. In the absence of surveillance or real time monitoring of dental caries in India, there exist a need to assess the prevalence in the country for planning and implementation of oral health programs. Aim: To assess the combined prevalence and mean DMFT of dental caries in India among the WHO index age groups (5, 12, 15, 35-44 and 65-74 years). Materials and Methods: Epidemiological/point prevalence studies conducted (among index age groups) in various parts of India from January 2000 to April 2016 were retrieved from Pubmed central database using ‘Dental caries’ AND ‘India’ as MeSH terms and information from the only National Oral Health Survey and Fluoride Mapping (2002-2003) in India were used. The combined mean deft/DMFT and pooled prevalence of the dental caries was assessed region wise for each age group. Results: The mean deft/DMFT was 2.36, 1.95, 3.31 and 7.01 among 5, 12, 15 and 65-74 years respectively. The SiC index shows steady increase from 3.36 to 8.11 across the groups. The mean prevalence of dental caries is almost similar at 5 years and 12 years at 49% while it shows steady increase from 15 years (60%) to 35-44 years (78%) and peaks at 65-74 year group (84%). In the Eastern and Western regions of India, the 15 year old had higher caries prevalence and mean DMFT compared to the 12-year-old. Across India, the 60-74-year-old had the highest DMFT of 7.01. In North and South India, 65-74-year-old had the highest caries prevalence of 84% and 85% respectively. Conclusion: Irrespective of age groups, the prevalence of dental caries was found to be high and varied across India. This data could help health policy makers to tailor region specific oral health interventions. © 2018, Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research. All rights reserved.

More »»

2017

Dr. R. Venkitachalam, Mathews, P. Philip, R, S., Kuruvilla, S., and Latti, P., “Knowledge, Attitude And Practices about apron hygiene among clinical dental students in a dental college In Kerala - A Cross Sectional Survey”, Journal of Odontological Research. , 2017.

2017

Chandrashekar Janakiram, Basapathy, R., Farheen, T., Dr. R. Venkitachalam, AKALGUD, H., and Kadanakuppe, S., “Equity in Oral Healthcare in India: A Review on Health System Analysis”, Economic and political weekly, vol. 52, p. 82, 2017.[Abstract]


Oral health is a critical but overlooked component of overall health and well-being. Although there have been impressive advances in both dental technology and in our scientific understanding of oral diseases, significant disparities in both the prevalence of dental disease and access to dental care among population subgroups remain. This paper attempts to elaborate on the nature of oral health equity in India by exploring the process and trajectories of oral health inequity.

More »»

2017

S. V., Chandrashekar Janakiram, Joseph, J., S.K., Y., and Dr. R. Venkitachalam, “Letter to the editor: ‘Long-term effectiveness of school-based children oral hygiene program on oral health after 10-year follow-up’ by Lai et al. (2016)”, Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, vol. 45, pp. 189-190, 2017.[Abstract]


‘Long-term effectiveness of school-based children oral hygiene program on oral health after 10-year follow-up

More »»

2016

Chandrashekar Janakiram, J., J., S., V., F., T., C.V., D. Kumar, Dr. R. Venkitachalam, B., A., V., S., and J., V. N., “Prevalence and Dependency of Tobacco Use in an Indigenous Population of Kerala, India”, Journal of Oral Hygiene & Health, vol. 4, pp. 1-4, 2016.[Abstract]


Background: Kerala has a large number of tribal communities where the prevalence of tobacco related oral mucosal lesions is alarmingly high. This coupled with ignorance regarding harmful effects of tobacco use is an emerging public health problem. Purpose: To find out dependency of tobacco use in an indigenous population of Wayanad, India.
Methods: A cross- sectional study was designed in the tribal colonies of Kalpetta, Kerala. A multi-stage cluster sampling design was adopted to select the indigenous people living in colonies. A structured close-ended interview was conducted using a 27-item questionnaire, modified and adapted from the National Institute for Mental Health and Neurosciences, India (NIMHANS). The questionnaire consisted of five domains. To assess the dependency of tobacco habit, Fagerstrom Nicotine Dependency Scale for both smoking and smokeless forms of tobacco were used.
Results: Of the 103 responses obtained, 41.7% were males. Participants were in the age group of 14-70 years with a mean age of 43 years. Almost half of the respondents cleaned their teeth twice daily. About 53% of people cleaned their teeth using fingers. Toothpowder and rice husks were the commonly used materials for cleaning teeth (64%) followed by toothpaste (35.9%). It was observed that the prevalence of tobacco use in this population was 73.8%. Majority of the respondents (92%) used smokeless forms of tobacco. The mean scores of nicotine dependency for smoked tobacco was 3.85 (± 2.7) and that for smokeless form was 4.61 (± 2.17). Both these scores denote moderate dependency of tobacco use. The average age of onset of tobacco use was 16.41 years for smoked and 17.53 years for smokeless forms.
Conclusions: The prevalence of tobacco consumption was found to be high among both males and females in the tribal population. Majority of them consumed different forms of smokeless tobacco

More »»

2016

Dr. R. Venkitachalam, Mohamed, S., Chandrashekar Janakiram, and Joseph, J., “Redefining Public Health Dentistry in India: Bicycle model- The way forward”, Dental Poster journal , vol. 5, 5 vol., no. 2, 2016.

2016

Chandrashekar Janakiram, Dr. R. Venkitachalam, and Joseph, J., “Profile of Institutional Ethics Committees in Dental Teaching Institutions in Kerala, India”, Accountability in Research, vol. 23, pp. 219-229, 2016.[Abstract]


Objectives: To assess the existence, structure, and functioning of Institutional Ethics Committees (IECs) in dental teaching institutions in Kerala. Methodology: A cross-sectional questionnaire-based survey was conducted by personally approaching Heads of Institutions/Ethics Committee (EC) in-charge of all dental colleges (23) in Kerala. The validated questionnaire consisted of two parts. The first part pertained to details of institutions, and the second part assessed the structure and functioning of the IEC. The data obtained was tabulated and analyzed using descriptive statistics. Results: Of the participating 17 colleges, 13 colleges had a functioning IEC. Only four of these IECs were accredited to a central agency. Only one among the 12 colleges completely adhered to recommended structure. Regarding the functioning of IECs, 69% of the IECs had neither a separate application form for ethical review of proposals nor a proforma for its evaluation. On average, more than ten proposals were reviewed in a single EC meeting in 54% of the colleges. Nearly 40% of the IECs had no representation of a lay person. Conclusion: The absence of IEC in four colleges and non-accreditation to a central agency was a matter of concern. Enforced accreditation is the need of the hour to ensure ethical protection to human participants. © 2016 Taylor &amp; Francis.

More »»

Reviewer/Editorial Board Member

  • Amrita Journal of Medicine
  • Annoor Journal of Scientific Research

Professional Interest

  • Dental public health
  • Research methodology
  • Biostatistics
  • Health systems research
  • Clinical trials
  • Research ethics
  • School health programs
  • Public health activities and programs

Professional Memberships

  • Community Health Oriented Research and Training (COHORT)
  • Indian Association of Public Health Dentistry (Life Member)
  • Indian Dental Association (Kerala State)

Invited Guest Lectures:

  • Guest speaker – Referencing
    9th Research Methodology Workshop – Govt. Dental College, Kottayam, September 26, 2019.
  • Keynote speaker – Research prospects after BDS
    ISP National Perio Undergraduate UG Convention, March 30-31, 2019, Kochi
  • Resource person – Research methodology Workshop for Faculty.
    Amrita School of Medicine, March 2018, Kochi
  • Guest speaker – CDE on Research Methodology and Biostatistics: A primer.
    Sree Sankara Dental College, March 1, 2018, Varkala
  • Guest speaker – Basic Biostatistics
    Perio Sameeksha – Intensive Academic Review Program, February 2018, Amrita School of Dentistry, Kochi
  • Guest speaker – Dental Public Health scenario in India
    D+ve – National level Dental Academic Conference, December 17, 2017, Trichur
  • Keynote speaker – Community Dental Health in India: An update.
    ReCOPS – National Conference on Dental Research, October 2017, Kochi

Additional Professional Activities (Online Courses)

  • STTP on Statistical Analysis using SPSS software (2020) – REST Society for Research International
  • Epidemics, Pandemics and Outbreaks (2020) – University of Pittsburg (Coursera)
  • Current regulatory Requirements for conducting clinical trials In India (2019) – IIT Madras (NPTEL)
  • Introduction to the Principles and Practice of Clinical Research (2018) - (NIH)
  • Introduction to Biostatistics (2018) – IIT Bombay eCertificate course (NPTEL)
  • Health Research Fundamentals (2016) – NIE-ICMR eCertificate course (NPTEL)
  • Design and interpretation of clinical trials (2016) – John Hopkins University (Coursera)
  • Systems thinking in Public Health (2016) – John Hopkins University (Coursera)

Conferences and Workshops Attended

International Conferences

  • 2nd Amrita International Public Health Conference, Kochi (November 25-26, 2019)
  • 1st Amrita International Public Health Conference, Kochi (November 2-3, 2018)
  • 12th Asia Pacific Conference on Tobacco or Health, September 13-15, 2018, Bali, Indonesia

National Conferences

  • 24th National Conference of Indian Association of Public Health Dentistry, Hyderabad (2019)
  • 4th National Conference on Tobacco or Health, Mumbai, February 8-10, 2019
  • AMCCON 2018: National Conference on Health Inequities in India – Transformative Research for Action, Trivandrum (Jan 2018)
  • D+ve – National level Dental Academic Conference, December 17, 2017, Trichur
  • ReCOPS – National Conference on Dental Research, October 2017, Kochi
  • 21st National Conference of Indian Association of Public Health Dentistry 2016, Bhubaneshwar
  • Evidence In Public Health Policy Conference 2016, Bengaluru
  • 3rd Forum for Ethical Review Committees in India Conference 2015, Lucknow
  • 20th National Conference of Indian Association of Public Health Dentistry 2015, Manipal
  • 9th PG Convention of Indian Association of Public Health Dentistry 2015, Nellore
  • 19th National Conference of Indian Association of Public Health Dentistry 2014, Kochi
  • 8th PG Convention of Indian Association of Public Health Dentistry 2014, Noida

Symposium and Workshops

  • ICMR Training on Responsible Conduct of Research & Publication Ethics, February 28, 2020, NIDCR, Bengaluru.
  • Short Duration Intensive Training Program on Public Health Ethics, July 17-21, 2019, IIT Bombay (Organized by ICMR, FMES, HEaL and TISS).
  • Illuminate – Pedagogy and Personal Effectiveness Workshop, April 20-21, 2019, Salem.
  • National Symposium on Evidence Synthesis, New Delhi, April 10-12, 2019
  • Workshop on Qualitative Research Methods and Data Analysis, Amrita School of Dentistry (2018)
  • Ethics in Public Health Practice, Azim Premji University, Bengaluru (2017)
  • Evidence Based Medicine Symposium, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi (2016)
  • Biostatistics Workshop, Amrita School of Dentistry, Kochi (2015)
  • Tobacco Cessation Counselling, NIMHANS, Bengaluru (2015)
  • Clinical Trials Workshop, Christian Medical College, Vellore (2014)
  • ART Workshop, Government Dental College, Bengaluru (2015)
  • Qualitative Research Workshop, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi (2015)
  • Research Methodology Workshop, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi (2014)