The prevalence of oral conditions and tobacco use among dental patients at princess Marina Mental Clinic, Botswana
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University of Botswana, Department of Environmental Health, Botswana
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A799
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Several studies have associated smoking with oral conditions such as tooth staining and bad breath, periodontal diseases, impaired healing of wounds, precancer and oral cancer. These effects are often visible and potentially reversible after cessation of smoking. Dentists are frequently in contact with the general population and therefore provide an opportunity for early intervention in smoking cessation counseling compared to other health professionals. This study profiled patients with oral conditions, to assess their knowledge on oral conditions and tobacco use.

A cross-sectional survey was carried out at Princess Marina Dental Clinic in Gaborone. The study population included all dental patients visiting the clinic. Only dental patients from the age of 18 years old and above participated in the study. Patients were interviewed using a structured questionnaire and investigated clinically for the presence of oral conditions by a qualified dentist.

The prevalence of Tobacco use was 21% among the patients. The prevalence was significantly higher among patients aged 25 and 36 (p< 0.05). Dental carries was the most common condition affecting 45% of patients followed by periodontal disease affecting 21% of patients. The age group 25-36 years was the most affected by oral conditions (p< 0.05). Current smokers had a higher prevalence of tooth staining (26%) compared with never smokers (11%). Periodontal disease was prevalent in 32% of tobacco users and 20% of past tobacco users. Overall, 25%(n=68) of patients were not aware of the relationship between smoking and oral health.

Tobacco use prevalence is high among dental patients in this study. The lack of awareness on tobacco use and effects on oral health is also concerning. On account of their frequent contact with the general population, dentists could provide a window of opportunity for early detection of oral conditions associated with smoking, provide patient education, counseling and smoking cessation advice.