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Tooth loss among habitual chewing-stick and plastic toothbrush users in the adult population of Mtwara, rural Tanzania

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Int J Dent Hygiene3, 2005: 64–69

Mumghamba EGS, Fabian FM:

Tooth loss among habitual chewing-stick and plastic toothbrush users in the adult population of Mtwara, rural Tanzania Abstract:  Objectives: 

The aim of this study was to determine the extent and type of tooth loss in relation to habitual chewing-stick (CS) and plastic toothbrush (PT) users in adults. Methods: 

A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted in Mtwara's rural population aged ≥40 years. A total of 206 randomly selected study participants – males (55.8%) and females (44.2%) – were interviewed on oral hygiene practices using a structured questionnaire, and a clinical examination performed for assessment of tooth loss. Results: 

Of the total, 93.2% were partially edentulous, 2.4% completely edentulous and those with no tooth loss 4.4%. The total number of missing teeth were 1728 (mean, 8.38 ± 7.9), and the causes were caries (74.9%), mutilation (4.8%) and others including periodontal and trauma (20.3%). There was no significant difference in the mean number of tooth loss between the upper and lower jaw, and between males and females. However, the mean number of missing teeth in the lower jaw was higher in females than in males (P = 0.04), and on lower left than lower right jaw (P = 0.008). Lower molars, especially first molars, were the teeth lost most often. Tooth-cleaning devices included PT (51.5%), CS (25.7%), both type (BT; 17.0%) and unspecified (5.8%). The differences in the mean number of missing teeth were higher in CS than habitual PT users (P = 0.024) and in BT (P = 0.029). Tooth loss was also higher among those who brushed once when compared with those who brushed two times or more per day (P = 0.046). Conclusion: 

Tooth loss was significantly higher in CS than PT habitual users and affected mostly the lower molars and especially the first molar. However, for economical reasons, effective use of CS should be promoted for enhanced tooth retention.
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Keywords: Tanzania; chewing-stick; epidemiology; manual plastic toothbrush; rural; tooth loss

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2005

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