Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice

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Bad-breath: Perceptions and misconceptions of Nigerian adults

SO Nwhator, GI Isiekwe, MO Soroye, MO Agbaje


Objective: To provide baseline data about bad‑breath perception and misconceptions among Nigerian adults.
Methods: Multi‑center cross‑sectional study of individuals aged 18-64 years using examiner‑administered questionnaires. Age comparisons were based on the model of emerging adults versus full adults. Data were recoded for statistical analyses and univariate and secondary log‑linear statistics applied.
Results: Participants had lopsided perceptions about bad‑breath. While 730 (90.8%) identified the dentist as the expert on halitosis and 719 (89.4%) knew that bad‑breath is not contagious, only 4.4% and 2.5% associated bad‑breath with tooth decay and gum disease respectively. There were no significant sex differences but the older adults showed better knowledge in a few instances. Most respondents (747, 92.9%) would tell a spouse about their bad‑breath and 683 (85%) would tell a friend.
Conclusions: Participants had lop‑sided knowledge and perceptions about bad‑breath. Most Nigerian adults are their “brothers’ keepers” who would tell a spouse or friend about their halitosis so they could seek treatment.

Key words: Bad‑breath, emerging adults, misconceptions, Nigeria, perceptions
AJOL African Journals Online