Does concern about halitosis influence individual’s oral hygiene practices?
Objective: The objective of this study was to assess whether the concern about halitosis influence oral health attitude and practices among young literate adults in Nigeria.
Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional survey of 400 randomly selected temporary camp resident adults in Anambra state, South Eastern Nigeria was conducted using a modified version of the Hiroshima University-Dental Behavioral Inventory questionnaire.
Results: Out of the 400 questionnaires distributed, only 294 were filled and returned giving an overall response rate of 73.5%. Half (50.0%) of the participants in this study expressed concern about halitosis. The participants that expressed concern about halitosis were mostly in the 25- to 27-year-old age group, females, known smoker, regular dental floss, and mouth wash users, had incorrect tooth brushing knowledge, brushed teeth more frequently and more forcefully, had no previous dental treatment, prefer symptomatic dental visit, experienced gingival bleeding, expressed worry about the color of their gingiva and teeth but were satisfied with the dental appearance.
Conclusion: Data from this study showed that concerns about halitosis-triggered behavioral reaction in oral self-care practices namely tooth brushing frequency, tooth brushing force, mouth wash, and dental floss use. Also revealed were poorer oral health and lower preventive dental visit practices among participants concerned about halitosis. There is need for improved public knowledge and awareness about halitosis by the dentist in Nigeria.
Key words: Concern, halitosis, oral hygiene practices