Impact of Dental Care on Oral Health Perception, Quality of Life and Behavior: An Observational Study in a Nigerian Rural Community

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Nnawuihe, Ukachi Chiwendu
Sofola, Oyinkansola
Okeigbemen, Sunny A
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International Journal of Community Dentistry
Objective: Dental care may improve oral health behavior because of its potential to influence oral health‑related quality of life (OHRQoL) and self‑perception. The study objective was to examine the impact of dental care on OHRQoL and self‑perception and their consequent effect on oral health behavior in rural dwelling adults. Methods: Randomly selected 403 participants were examined pre‑ and post‑uptake of dental care in Udo rural community. Information on oral health behavior was obtained with questionnaires. Global rating of oral health and General Oral Health Assessment Index (GOHAI) were used to measure self‑perceived oral health and OHRQoL. Normative assessment was done according to the World Health Organization Oral Health Survey criteria. Data were analyzed using SPSS (IBM) version 21.0 at 95% confidence interval (CI) and test for significance set at (P < 0.05). Findings: The mean age (±standard deviation) of the study participants was 36.1 ± 15.8 with males 258 (52.7%) and females 232 (47.3%). Only 28.4% cleaned their teeth ≥2 daily, and 15.3% consumed refined sugar <1 daily. A total of 200 (40.8%) participants rated their oral health as good. Low OHRQoL was noted in 256 (52.2%) participants. Postdental care, better oral health self‑rating was noted in 335 (83.1%) participants. Mean GOHAI scores rose from 29.42 ± 4.96 to 35.39 ± 1.32 (Δeffect size = 1.2). Participants who reported better oral health perception and OHRQoL were more likely to improve on their tooth cleaning habits (odds ratio [OR] =1.875, 95% CI: 1.09–3.22, P = 0.023) and reduce the frequency in daily refined sugar consumption (OR = 2.170, 95% CI: 1.10–4.27, P = 0.025). Conclusion: Dental care improved self‑perceived oral health and OHRQoL. Improvements in self‑perceived oral health and OHRQoL can be used as the predictors of behavioral change in the study population
Dental care, oral health behavior, quality of life, rural Nigeria, self‑perception