Oral habits and open bite among children aged 8-12 years in Kinondoni, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

  • S Kikwete
  • FK Kahabuka


Aim: To determine the prevalence of oral habits and their relationship with the occurrence of open bite among 8 to 12 years old children in Kinondoni District, Dar es Salaam. Study design: A cross sectional study. Subjects and methods: All children aged 8-12 years from four government primary schools were eligible to participate. Using school registers, twenty children of each age were randomly selected giving a total of 100 children from each school. Face to face interviews were conducted using a structured questionnaire. The questionnaire inquired about oral habits of the children including thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, lip sucking, nail biting and/or mouth breathing. Children were also examined clinically for the presence of open bite. Results: A total of 394 primary school children participated. Females constituted 52.5% of the study sample. Nail biting was the most frequently practiced habit (53.3%), followed by lip sucking (13.7%), tongue thrusting (11.9%), thumb sucking (9.4%) and finger sucking (5.1%). Mouth breathing was the least practiced oral habit. Forty six children (11.7%) had an open bite. Tongue thrusting was significantly associated with age being seen more (14.8%, P = 0.026) in the younger age group 8-10 years. Open bite was significantly more prevalent among thumb (P=0.01) and finger (P=0.001) suckers than non suckers. Conclusion: The most common oral habits in this age group were nail biting, lip sucking and tongue thrusting. Open bite was more prevalent among thumb and finger suckers than non suckers.


Key words: Oral habits, open bite, school children, Tanzania


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eISSN: 0856-0625