Oral self-care practices, dental attendance and self-perceived oral health status among internal medicine residents in Nigeria

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Iwuala, S.O.
Umeizudike, K.A.
Ozoh, O.B.
Fasanmade, O.A.
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Background: Oral health is important for well‐being and chronic disease prevention. Physician’s confidence and willingness to counsel patients on lifestyle practices is related to their personal behavior. Limited data exists regarding oral self‐care practices among physicians in developing countries, as the majority seeks oral health advice and care from doctors rather than dentists. Aim: To determine the oral self‐care practices, dental attendance, and self‐perceived oral health status of internal medicine residents in Nigeria. Methods: A cross‐sectional study was conducted among internal medicine resident doctors attending an update course using a self‐administered structured questionnaire, which included oral care practices. Data were analyzed with SPSS version 21.0, P < 0.05 was significant. Results: The response rate was 82.0%. Data from 109 residents from the 6 geopolitical zones in Nigeria were analyzed. The mean age of the residents was 33.1 (4.0) years. 39.8% brushed twice a day, 20.2% used dental floss regularly, 10.1% used the roll technique for brushing and 30.3% of the doctors had never been to a dentist. However, 61.1% felt dental visits should be undertaken every 6 months and 57.8% strongly agreed/agreed that the state of their oral health was excellent. There was no difference in the oral hygiene practices by gender, designation or geopolitical zone of the residency program apart from dental flossing (female > male, P = 0.002). A higher proportion of junior compared to senior residents strongly agreed/agreed and strongly disagreed/disagreed that their oral health status was excellent (P = 0.026). Conclusion: The oral self‐care practices of these doctors involved in managing patients with medical conditions linked to oral health is inadequate. There is a need for better education on oral self‐care among physicians.
Dental attendance , Internal medicine , Oral health-Nigeria , Oral self‐care
Iwuala, S.O., Umeizudike, K.A., Ozoh, O.B. and Fasanmade, O.A. (2015). Oral self-care practices, dental attendance and self-perceived oral health status among internal medicine residents in Nigeria. European Journal of General Dentistry, 4(2), 79-86.