Nigerian Journal of Health and Biomedical Sciences

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The Prevalence of Oral Habits Among 4 to 15 year Old School Children in Lagos

R Quashie-Williams, O O Dacosta, M C Isiekwe


Objective: To provide information regarding the prevalence of oral habits among a group of Nigerian children.
Study Design: This is cross-sectional study of 928 children, 431 males and 497 females aged 4 to 15 years from both rural and urban areas of Lagos State in Nigeria. Habits assessed included digit, lip and tongue habits. Results: Thirty four point one per cent of the children examined presented with an oral habit. Of these, digit sucking was the most frequently occurring, seen in 50% of the children with oral habits. Tongue and lip habits occurred in 27% and 23% of children respectively. There was observed a steady decrease in oral habits with an increase in age. The prevalence being highest among 4 to 5 year olds (44.2%) and gradually decreasing to 11.8% among the 14 to 15 year age group. Oral habits were found to be slightly more common among males than females, though this finding was not significant. Socio-economic status (SES) was found to have a significant effect on the occurrence of oral habits. Forty eight per cent of all children of high SES engaged in an oral habit, whereas this was observed in only 24.4% of all children of low SES.
Conclusion: The findings of this study indicate that there is an increased prevalence of oral habits among children in the population in recent times. The occurrence of these habits is more frequently seen in children from families of high socio-economic status.

Keywords:Epidemiology, prevalence, oral habits

Nigerian Journal of Health and Biomedical Science Vol. 6 (1) 2007: pp. 78-82
AJOL African Journals Online