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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 33-39

Traditional oral health practices in a community in South East Nigeria

Department of Preventive Dentistry, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Enugu, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
E A Akaji
Department of Preventive Dentistry, College of Medicine, UNTH, Enugu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Aim: The study aimed at determining the tooth cleaning devices, reasons influencing the choice of such devices, which tooth cleaning device gave the best oral hygiene and to ascertain the oral health status of the community. Methods: This cross sectional study involved 147 participants resident in Isu Awaa, in Enugu state, Nigeria, who were present for an oral health educational activity. Data collection was done using a structured pre-tested questionnaire administered by the dental team. Data obtained were on the participants' demographic details, tooth cleaning devices used, and reasons for their choices. The caries status was measured using modified DMFT index, the periodontal treatment needs by CPITN and the Oral hygiene status by Simplified OHI. The data collected were analyzed using SPSS version 15. Results: The choice of toothbrush was mostly attributed to “good result” while choice of chewing stick was hinged on availability and traditional beliefs. The mean DMFT and OHI-Scores were 2.0 ± 2.82 and 2.46 ± 0.93 respectively, while 105 (71.4%) participants needed deep scaling and curettage. Conclusion: The use of chewing stick in this community is still very popular, although the participants believed that better results were obtained by using toothbrush. To help improve and maintain good oral hygiene, routine community based oral health education on proper use of either the chewing stick or tooth brush is highly recommended.

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