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Context Several oral diseases and conditions are associated with tooth loss. Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of oral health problems seen at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) in one year with the view to highlighting causes of tooth loss in this environment. Methods This study utilised data from the Record book of the Oral Diagnosis unit of the Dental clinic in UNTH, Enugu. Records of patients seen from January to December 2008 with complete information were included in the study. Data obtained were patient's age, gender, provisional diagnosis, teeth lost and reasons for the loss. The data were computer- analysed; Chi square statistics was used to test for association and differences. Values were considered significant when p-value was equal to or less than 0.05. Results A total of 1663 entries were made; 686 (41.3%) were males and 977 (58.7%) females. On the whole, 110 (6.6%) had traumatic injuries, 70 (4.2%) had malocclusion while 583 (35.1%) had periodontal disease. Periodontal disease, pulpitis and dental caries were not only the most common oral health problems encountered but also the major causes of tooth loss. Conclusion The major causes of tooth loss in our study were periodontal disease and dental caries and its sequelae. Since these two diseases are preventable, existing measures to check them should be more aggressively pursued. Also, recruitment of manpower to manage the different conditions would be very timely for greater retention of teeth despite an aging society.
Key words: Oral health; Tooth loss; UNTH; Enugu