Prevalence of dental caries among adult patients attending a tertiary dental institution in South-South region of Nigeria

  • OG Omitola
  • AO Arigbede


Background: Oral health is an important component of the general health and dental caries status of a community is a good indicator of oral health status of that community. Epidemiological studies on dental caries are rare in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
Aim: To determine the prevalence of dental caries among adult patients attending University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital Dental centre and to compare it with previously reported results.
Methods: A cross-sectional study of all patients aged 18years and above presenting with dental caries at the centre over a one-year period was conducted. A self-administered anonymous questionnaire was used to get the socio-demographic data of the patients. The patients were all examined and caries was diagnosed using the WHO criteria (1997). Decay, missing and filled teeth (DMFT) were recorded and restorative index was calculated (F/F+D percent). SPSS version 15 was used to generate summary statistics and student t-test was used to compare means between two groups. 
Results: Out of 1,927 patients that presented during the study period, only 435 had dental caries or one of its sequelae giving a prevalence of 22.6%. The mean DMFT score for the group was 3.57; that of females was 3.88 while that for males was 3.08. The difference in the mean DMFT scores between the two sexes was statistically significant (p=0.026). The restorative index was 25.3%.
Conclusion: The prevalence of dental caries in our centre (22.6%) falls within the previously reported 4-30% rates for Nigeria. The mean DMFT score was 3.51 and the restorative index is 25.3%.

Keywords: Prevalence, Caries, Adults, South-South region

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eISSN: 0795-3038