M.M. Salawu and R. Omitoye

Department of Public Health, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Adeleke University, Ede, Osun State.


Background: Dental care is an important aspect of oral health which deals with the maintenance of healthy teeth and it is an important aspect of general oral health. Dental care practices include regular tooth brushing and flossing, healthy nutritional habits and regular visits to the dentists.

Objective: This was to determine the practice of dental hygiene among undergraduate students of Adeleke University.

Methodology: This was a cross-sectional survey conducted among Adeleke University undergraduate students between February and March, 2017. A stratified sampling technique was used to select study participants. A semi structured questionnaire was used for data collection and data were analyzed using SPSS version 21. Bivariate analysis was done with chi squared test. Level of significance was set at 5%.

Results: Mean age of respondents was 20.18 + 2.61 years. Half of the respondents (53.6%) brushed their teeth twice daily. Most (79.2%) of the respondents used toothpick to remove food debris from their teeth and only 9.1% used dental floss. Only 54.7% had ever visited the dentist in their lifetime. Respondents who were single had good dental practice compared to respondents that were married (p>0.05).

Conclusion: The practice of dental hygiene among the students is not adequate. There is a need to inform and educate the students on dental hygiene practices and the benefits.

Keywords: Dental care practices, Undergraduate students, Adeleke University


Dr. M.M. Salawu
Department of Public Health,
Adeleke University, Ede,
Osun State,


Oral health is a state of being free from mouth and facial pain, oral sores and infections, periodontal (gum) disease, tooth decay, tooth loss, and other diseases and disorders that limit an individual’s capacity in biting, chewing, smiling, speaking, and psychosocial wellbeing.1 Dental care is an important aspect of oral health which deals with the maintenance of healthy teeth and it is an important aspect of general oral health. The mouth is the major gateway to the body hence, oral health is essential to the general health and quality of life.2

The practice of regular dental care, otherwise known as oral hygiene, helps in keeping the mouth and teeth clean in order to prevent dental diseases.3 Basic dental care involves brushing and flossing of the teeth regularly, seeing a dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. In a broader perspective, oral hygiene is the practice of keeping the mouth and teeth clean to prevent dental problems, most commonly, dental cavities, gingivitis, periodontal (gum) diseases and bad breath.1,4

Oral care practices such as brushing with fluoride toothpaste, dental flossing, regular dental checkup including cleaning the teeth professionally at least twice a year, are recommended measures for maintaining good oral health.5 Studies by Kempe et al. showed that poor oral hygiene, such as not brushing, not flossing, or not rinsing enough can lead to gum disease and tooth decay.6 The longer food particles are allowed to stay in the mouth, the greater the chance of decay. So the mouth should be rinsed immediately after eating, especially sugary substances to prevent the formation of plaque.7

In a study conducted by Ogunrinde et al., it was documented that students and adolescents in Nigeria faced challenges regarding their oral health because of the daily high consumption of sugary foods and drinks, which predisposed them to dental caries and periodontal disease coupled with poor oral hygiene. 8,9 According to Akpata, dental caries constitutes one of the major oral health problems with its prevalence as high as 20 to 45% among school children and adolescents in Nigeria.10 Periodontal diseases was found in 15–58% in those aged above 15 years, while a national survey involving 7630 persons from the 6 geo political zones in Nigeria reported that only 26.4% had visited the dentist, 10.5%, used dental floss and 42.0% brushed twice daily.11

It is recommended that the teeth be brushed regularly with tooth brush using fluoride containing toothpaste at least twice a day in order to prevent dental caries and maintain good oral hygiene.12 However, there is limited data on dental care practices among students especially of private institutions in Nigeria. This study was therefore designed to provide baseline data on the dental care practices among undergraduate students of Adeleke University, Osun State, Nigeria.