Vol. 5, Issue 5 (2019)
Oral hygiene aids in a rural community in Nigeria
Author(s): Osadolor OO, Osadolor AJ
Abstract: Introduction: The mouth is the portal for life-sustaining water and food. It is also a primary mechanism for human communication. The purpose of using oral hygiene aids like chewing stick and toothbrush is to attain good oral hygiene compatible with good oral health. Unfortunately, the practice when not performed appropriately, may result into unwanted ill effects such as recession of the gingival tissues, trauma to soft tissues and abrasion of dental hard tissues. The most widely used oral hygiene aids are toothbrushes with toothpaste. Other oral hygiene aids include dental floss, chewing stick and interproximal brush. Dental floss is an interdental cleaning agent that is effective for cleaning plaque and debris from interproximal surfaces of the teeth. Objective: To evaluate the oral hygiene aids used in a rural community in Nigeria. Methodology: A cross sectional study of 268 participants was carried out at Ozalla model primary health centre, Ozalla health centre and Umueze Awkunanaw health centre, located in Ozalla community and Umueze Awkunanaw community respectively. Ethical clearance for this study was sought and obtained. Permission was sought from the head of each health centre, while individual verbal consent (not written to encourage anonymity) was obtained from the respondents before giving out the pre-tested questionnaire which was interviewer-administered. Data was analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) Version 20. Results: 82.5% of the participant’s uses toothbrush only as oral hygiene aid, 14.5% uses chewing stick while 3% uses toothbrush and chewing stick alternatively. 67.2% of the respondents brushes once a day while 32.8% brushes twice a day. 1% of the respondents uses dental floss as interdental cleaning aid while over 60% uses toothpick. The age of the participants was 18years to 86 years with a mean age of 32.4 ± 13.3 years. The predominant occupation was farming and small scale business/trading. P values < 0.05 were accepted as being statistically significant. P-value = 0.035, P- value = 0.026. Conclusion: The use of dental floss and other oral hygiene aids is important for the prevention of gingivitis, periodontitis and interproximal caries/ dental caries. The use of dental floss is still not optimal despite its potential benefit. This may be due to lack of knowledge of what dental floss is, knowledge of how it is been used, cost and availability.