PREDICTORS OF DENTAL CARIES AMONG ADULTS AND ADOLESCENTS IN A DENTAL CLINIC IN NORTH-EASTERN NIGERIA
Background: Dental caries constitute a public health burden globally. They occur when the balance between their protective factors and risk factors is disturbed. The aim of the study was to determine the predictors of dental caries among adults and adolescents in a dental clinic in north-eastern Nigeria.
Materials and Methods: A case-control study design was used, with cases drawn from the dental clinic, and controls from the general out-patient unit of the same hospital. Systematic random sampling was used to select both cases and controls. Those selected from the dental clinic underwent a thorough oral examination, using the specific caries index and were included into the study if they had any of a decayed, missing, or filled tooth. Those selected from the out-patient clinic were examined in a similar manner, and were included into the study as controls, once they did not have a decayed, missing, or filled tooth. A structured questionnaire was used to collect information on respondents’ socio-demographic characteristics and oral care habits. Chi-square test was used to compare the socio-demographic characteristics of the groups and to test the association between dental caries and oral care habits. Multivariate logistic regression was used to determine the predictors of dental caries.
Result: A total of 124 respondents were recruited into this study, comprising of 59 respondents with dental caries (cases), and 65 without dental caries (controls). Their ages ranged from 15 to 63 years. Daily teeth cleaning (OR=0.33, 95% CI: 0.11-0.97; p=0.044), and teeth cleaning after every meal (OR=0.28, 95% CI: 0.10-0.78; p=0.015), were associated with lower odds of having dental caries. Tooth ache was the major reason for visiting the dentist, among both cases (78.6%) and controls (68.6%).
Conclusion: The study emphasizes the very important role of oral hygiene in preventing dental caries. The study also suggests that with very frequent teeth cleaning, refined sugars may not pose additional risks of developing dental caries.
Keywords: Dental caries, predictors, teeth cleaning