O.O. Ogunsuji1 , E.B. Dosumu2 , M.D. Dairo3 , and A.I Ogunsuji4

  1. Department of Periodontology and Community Dentistry, University College Hospital, Ibadan.
  2. Department of Periodontology and Community Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan.
  3. Department of Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, Faculty of Public Health, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan.
  4. Department of Child Oral Health, University College Hospital, Ibadan.


Introduction: Globally, there is an increasing incidence of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). Major oral diseases such as caries and periodontal disease which are classified as NCDs, are not left out of this trend. Recent reports are suggestive of increasing prevalence and severity of oral diseases among adolescents, despite accessibility of dental services. Ascertaining the oral health status of adolescents making use of dental services and how they perceive their oral health could help develop preventive and therapeutic strategies. This study therefore aims to determine the self-perception of adolescents utilizing dental services about their oral health and factors affecting their oral hygiene status. 

Methodology: This clinic-based cross-sectional study was carried out among adolescents attending the Dental Center, University College Hospital, Ibadan Nigeria. A total of 113 adolescents were recruited into this study using a systematic random sampling technique. A WHO Oral health questionnaire was administered to the participants. Questions were asked on socio-demographics, self-perception of oral health and oral hygiene practices. Descriptive statistics such as frequency, percentages, mean, standard deviation were used to present the data. Independent T test and One way ANOVA were used to analyze categorical exposure variables with normally distributed numerical outcomes. A p-value of <0.05 was considered statistically significant. 

Results: Majority of study participants had positive self-perception of health of their teeth (53.1%) and gingiva (62.8%) respectively, their mean OHI-S was 2.24 with 62.8% of adolescents having a fair oral hygiene. Mean DMFT was 0.96 with 75.2% of participants having a very low DMFT. OHI-S and DMFT were both significantly associated with age of adolescents, with late adolescents having significantly higher mean OHI-S and DMFT scores than early adolescents (p < 0.05). Adolescents who cleaned their teeth at least twice daily had significantly higher DMFT values than those who cleaned once daily (P < 0.05). 

Conclusion: This study found late adolescents had higher DMFT and OHI-S scores. There might be need to increase oral health awareness in senior secondary schools and tertiary institutions to help improve their oral health status. Its pertinent that adolescents are encouraged and taught good oral hygiene measures when they visit dental clinics, in school and at home. Adolescents utilizing dental services are likely to be more self-conscious about their oral health thus increasing the frequency of their teeth cleaning.

Keywords: Oral health, Adolescents, Self-perception


Dr. E.B. Dosumu 

Dept. of Perio. and Comm. Dentistry, 

Faculty of Dentistry, 

College of Medicine, 

University of Ibadan 



Oral health is a component of overall health of an individual which the WHO defined as a state of complete physical, mental, emotional, and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmities. Oral health affects people physically, psychologically and socially in the way individuals talk, self-perception of themselves and interaction with others.1,2 Globally, oral diseases are among the commonest chronic disorders, with a reported estimate of about 90% of individuals worldwide having experienced oral diseases at one time or the other.2, 3 Oral diseases also seem to share common risk factors such as sugar consumption and tobacco use with leading non-communicable diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancers and chronic respiratory disorders.4, 5 Worldwide, several studies have reported the effect of oral diseases on the daily lives of individuals with resultant loss of millions of school and work hours yearly, hence the public health importance of oral disease due to its socioeconomic impact.2, 6

Oral health has been reportedly given lesser attention compared to other aspects of global health, perhaps this might be due to the perception in some cultures that “teeth are seen as expendable” or the belief that “poor oral health often results in greater morbidity than mortality” hence most governments prioritize spending their limited resources on more life threatening conditions.7-9 Oral diseases includes dental caries and periodontal diseases, these two are the commonest cause of tooth loss globally, other conditions are oral cancers, premalignant disorders, oral lesions in immunocompromised people, salivary gland diseases, orofacial pain, developmental disorders (orofacial clefts), dental erosion, dental fluorosis and oro-dental trauma.

In the mid and late 20th century majority of studies on oral health focused more on adults and elderly, nevertheless towards the late 20th century and early 21st century more attention is being paid to oral health of children and adolescents due to a 21% increase in oral diseases in 2010 compared to 1990 as reported by the 2010 global burden of disease study.8, 9 Variations in the prevalence and severity of caries and periodontal diseases during childhood (pre-adolescent) and adolescent have been observed with significant increase at ages 12 and 15-19.9, 10 Previous studies on dental caries and treatment need among Nigerian children, have reported high prevalence of dental caries within a range of 30-43% among Nigerian adolescents.11-13 Another study by Popoola et al. amongst Nigerian adolescents aged 11-16 years reported “adverse periodontal tissue changes with about 90% of the sextants assessed involved in various forms of periodontal ill health”.14 These studies suggest adolescents may require special attention.

There had been reports of a relationship between selfperception of oral health by adolescents with personal care, professional care, social support and other external factors.15,16 A study carried out amongst Brazilian adolescents aged 15 to 19 years reported that 64% of their respondents classified their oral health as good, 18.4% considered that the appearance of their teeth and gingiva affected their relationship with others.16 In another study carried out among young adolescents in a rural area in Oyo state Nigeria, the frequency of tooth cleaning, toothache in the preceding months and satisfaction with oral health conditions were reported as important factors that determine how adolescents self-rate the health of their teeth and gums.17

There is necessity to enhance adolescent’s awareness about their own oral health and more importantly convey this knowledge to intermediaries such as dental personnel and parents. To successfully achieve these aims, it is pertinent to know how adolescents making use of dental services feel about their oral health. We therefore set out to determine the self-perception of teeth and gingivae, oral hygiene status of adolescents and factors affecting the Oral hygiene status of adolescents visiting UCH dental Centre.