Tanzania Dental Journal

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Self-perceived halitosis among students of higher learning institutions in Rwanda

Chrispinus H. Mumena, Uwitije Evode, Ibra Muhumuza, Rajabu Sasi, Majambo M. Mudhihiri, Birori Placidie, Ikundabayo Imelde, Kamugisha A. Madjaliwa


Aim: This study aimed to determine the prevalence of self-perceived halitosis (SPH), its effects and associated factors among students of higher learning institutions in Kigali, Rwanda.

Materials and methods: A self-administered structured questionnaire was distributed to 354 students. Data was entered into excel sheet and analyzed using SPSS version 16.0. Chi-square test was performed and p<0.05 was considered significant.

Results: Out of 354 questionnaires distributed, only 329 were completely filled and used for analysis of which 48.6% were filled by females. The prevalence of perceived bad breath was 23.1%, and was similar in both sexes. About 23% reported that breath had interfered with their social life at school during the month of the study, while 13.1% and 19.7% respectively reported to have lost their friends at school and avoided other people from feeling that they had bad breath. Respondents who reported to have cavities in their teeth; gum bleeding; white or yellow deposits on their tongue; and dry mouth were more likely to report perceived bad breath than their counterparts (x2-= 18.21, p< 0.001; x2-= 28.03, p< 0.001; x2-= 28.19, p< 0.001, x2-= 4.55, p< 0.033 respectively). The oral habits that were associated with perceived bad breath were “not brushing teeth every day” (x2-= 5.51, p= 0.019); “tobacco smoking” (x2= 31.91, p= 0.001); “drinking alcohol regularly” (x2= 7.73, p= 0.005); and “using chewing gum every day” (x2 = 28.03, p< 0.001).

Conclusion: A substantial proportion of students in institutions of high learning in Rwanda reported to have bad breath. Tooth cavities, gum bleeding, white or yellow deposits on tongue, infrequent tooth brushing; tobacco smoking and regular alcohol consumption were significantly associated with perceived bad breath.

Keywords: Self-perceived halitosis, associated factors, social life, Students

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