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Traditional and emerging oral health practices in parts of Nigeria.
The purpose of this study was to document the beliefs and perceptions and emerging oral health care practices in parts of Nigeria.
A descriptive study, based in four different locations that were selected to reflect urban-rural and geographical spread, was conducted. Focus group discussions and in-depth interviews were conducted among representative groups and significant gatekeepers in the study areas. The discussions focused on oral health problems frequently encountered in the communities, their dietary and snacking habits as well as the dental remedies commonly employed by the people for prophylactic and therapeutic purposes.
It was revealed that in both rural and urban low- to- middle socio-economic classes, periodontitis was the commonest dental problem in adults, while dental caries in children appeared to be also a cause for concern especially in northern Nigeria and the urban south. Most adults ate the local staple carbohydrate diets, however large quantities of cariogenic snacks were reported to be consumed. Chewing sticks and locally prepared toothpastes ranked prominent among the tooth cleaning implements, but many in the cities used toothbrushes. Various dental care remedies were employed ranging from warm saline wash to herbal preparations, antibiotics and battery water. In communities studied, the belief in ill defined "worms" as causative agents of all oral health problems was very firm. Consultation with traditional oral healthcare practitioners was a practice commonly observed in all study sites.
This study has highlighted specific areas for intervention in disease prevention and oral health promotion in Nigeria.
Attitude to Health
Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
Interviews as Topic
Pub Type(s)Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't