Purpose: This pilot study was conducted to estimate the prevalence of self-reported toothache, bleeding gums and oral ulcer experiences, reasons for dental visits and associated sociodemographic factors among adults living in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria. Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was based on a convenience sample in an urban setting. Out of the 540 persons surveyed, 508 had complete usable information, 48% males and 52% females, and aged 18 – 54 years. A closed questionnaire was used to collect the data at two large medical outpatient facilities and a university community. Results: The proportion reporting toothache experience in the previous 12 months was 34%; painful/bleeding gums 28%, and oral ulcers/painful spots 14%. Univariate analysis showed that toothache experience was associated with time since last dental visit (p < 0.001), age (p < 0.001), gender (p < 0.001) and education (p < 0.001). Experience with bleeding gums was associated with gender (p < 0.001), education (p < 0.001) and last dental visits (p < 0.001). Oral ulcers were associated with gender (p = 0.004), age (p < 0.001) and last dental visits (p < 0.001). Fewer males than females reported toothache (25% vs. 42%, OR 1.65) but more males reported bleeding gums (37% vs. 19%, OR = 0.34) and oral ulcers (19% vs. 10% OR = 0.33). Conclusions: Toothache experience was the most prevalent oral health problem reported by adults. Oral health problems were associated with age, gender and last dental visits.
Keywords: toothache, bleeding gums, oral ulcers, adults