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Oral Health & Preventive Dentistry

Edited by Prof. Dr. Jean-François Roulet, Prof. Dr. Dr. Niklaus P. Lang, Prof. Dr. Palle Holmstrup

Official journal of the Academy of Minimally Invasive Dentistry, the World Congress of Microdentistry, and the European Society of Preventive Dentistry

ISSN (print) 1602-1622 • ISSN (online) 1757-9996


Summer 2008
Volume 6 , Issue 2

Pages: 89-94
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Influence of Betel Nut Chewing, Dental Care Habits and Attitudes on Perceived Oral Health among Adult Pakistanis

Tanwir, Farzeen / Altamash, Mohammad /Gustafsson, Anders

Purpose: To survey an adult population in a deprived district of Karachi, with reference to factors influencing perceived oral health. Materials and Methods: Of 1000 questionnaires distributed to households, 994 were returned. The respondents were aged between 30 and 50 years old. Women comprised 49% of the sample. Results: Pan and betel nut chewing had a strong influence on the perceived oral health of the respondents. Pan chewers, 32% of the respondents, had a greater risk of oral problems, odds ratio 3.63. In contrast to other oral problems, dental caries was significantly less frequent among pan chewers (odds ratio 0.63). Betel nut chewing (28%) was less deleterious to oral health: the only significant effects were a higher risk for dental caries, odds ratio 4.51, and more gingival bleeding. While most of the respondents used a toothbrush for oral hygiene, a substantial proportion (27%) used their fingers. The oral hygiene method had no influence on the perceived oral health, nor did consumption of sweets and tea with sugar. Over 80% of the participants seldom or never visited a dentist. Cleaning frequency was significantly associated with oral health: those who cleaned their teeth at least daily had fewer oral problems. Almost all participants considered that eating sweets, smoking, and chewing pan and betel nuts endangered oral health. Conclusions: In this population, typical of deprived urban areas of Pakistan, betel nut habits and frequency of oral hygiene have a strong influence on perceived oral health, while cleaning method and sugar intake do not.

Keywords: betel nuts, dental care, oral health, oral hygiene

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