C.A. Akinyamoju1, J.O. Taiwo2, E. Uwadia1, J.M. Agbogidi1, A. Ambeke1

  1. Department of Family Dentistry, University College Hospital, Ibadan
  2. Department of Periodontology and Community Dentistry, University of Ibadan/University College


Background: Adopting good oral health practices such as regular tooth brushing and flossing; healthy nutritional habits and regular visits to the dentist, play a vital role in the wellbeing of an individual by preventing oral diseases such as dental caries and periodontal disease. Adequate knowledge of factors related to oral health may influence oral health practices leading to improved oral health.

Objective: The objective of this study was to assess the oral health knowledge and practice of a group of adults in Ibadan, Nigeria to enable planning of oral health services.

Method: A cross sectional survey involving 400 randomly selected traders at the Bola Ige Modern Market, Gbagi, Ibadan. A semi-structured interviewer administered questionnaire was used to obtain information on socio-demographics, oral health knowledge and practice. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics at p < 0.05.

Results: The mean age of participants was 36.9 ±1.2, 37.0% had adequate knowledge that tooth decay was related to sweet food substances, but the majority (61.9%) consumed carbonated drinks at least once a week. Only 22.8% had ever visited a dentist in their life time and 5.8% in the last six months. Knowledge of who a dentist was associated with their level of education, with more participants who had tertiary education (83%) having greater knowledge (2= 38.3, p < 0.001). About 70.3% of the study participants used a toothbrush and toothpaste to clean their teeth.

Conclusion: There is poor oral health knowledge amongst adult Nigerians and they utilize oral health practices that do not engender good oral health.

Keywords: Dental caries, Periodontal disease, Oral health awareness


Dr. C.A. Akinyamoju
Department of Family Dentistry,
University College Hospital,
Email: arianta11@yahoo.com


Oral health can be defined as wellbeing of the oral cavity and related tissues which enables an individual to eat, speak and socialize without active disease, discomfort or embarrassment and contributes to general health.1 Oral diseases are preventable and treatable yet they still represent a global public health problem.2 The oral health of individuals in developing countries is said to be deteriorating.3 Which may be as a result of low awareness and inadequate access to oral health care. Also, factors such as cultural beliefs, myths, fallacies and fear of dental clinics militate against good oral health in Nigerians.4

The prevalence of common dental diseases such as periodontal disease amongst Nigerians was 60-70% about 40 years ago.5 The oral health condition of Nigerians seems not to have improved with time, as, recent studies still reported high prevalence of periodontal disease among Nigerians.6,7 Popoola et al. reported that 90.0% of a group of adolescents in Ibadan had various forms of periodontal disease, and 94.8% of elderly persons in the same environment were also seen to have periodontal disease.6,7 The latter figures are relatively similar to the observations among populations in other areas of Nigeria.8 There is also an increase in the incidence of dental caries attributable to a shift from the traditional diet to a more refined one with higher sugar consumption.3 Caries prevalence of 11.2% was recorded among adolescents in Ibadan,9 and Arigbede et al.10 in a recent study observed that 35.1% of adults had dental caries.

Furthermore, Nigerian adults were found to have poor knowledge of the aetiology of common oral diseases.11 A considerable number were of the opinion that tooth loss and periodontal diseases are normal consequences of ageing and most had never visited a dental clinic; tooth extraction was the natural expectation of the handful that visited the dentist.7 Increase in knowledge may confer a sense of personal control over an individual’s oral health practice leading to improved oral health.12 However, ample knowledge sometimes may not translate to better practice as shown in a study by Lawal and Bankole.13 Improved oral health practice includes activities such as proper tooth brushing, regular flossing and dental visits, which may be achieved by adequate information and motivation.14,15 Dentists have been reported to be the main source of oral health information for adult Nigerians, however, due to poor dental utilization pattern accessing adequate information may be challenging.7,11

Therefore, in planning oral health treatment or management, it is important to determine the oral health needs in the community. This can be done by determining the normative and perceived needs. In addition, the baseline knowledge, attitude and practice of the community must also be established. There are previous studies conducted among adults in Ibadan that have assessed normative needs.7,16 Consequently, the aim of this survey was to assess the oral health knowledge and practice of traders to enable the Department of Family Dentistry, University College Hospital, Ibadan to plan oral health services at the Remi Babalola Red Cross clinic, Gbagi, Ibadan.