Utilization of Dental services among a selected population in a Rural Community in South-South, Nigeria
Objective: Utilization of dental services has been reported among Nigerians especially in urban settings. However, information is sparse on utilization of dental services among the rural dwellers. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess oral health practices and dental service utilization of a selected population in a rural community in South-South Nigeria.
Methods: This was a descriptive cross-sectional study carried out in a rural community in Southern Nigeria. Information was obtained by means of an interviewer administered questionnaire. Demographics, oral health practices and dental service utilization were obtained from the subjects. Information collected was analyzed using SPSS version 20 software and the level of significance was set at <0.05.
Results: Three hundred and ninety-eight subjects consisting of 186 (46.7%) males and 212 (53.3%) females, with a mean age of 28.3±14.2 years participated in this study. Ninety five (23.9%) were children and adolescents. Though they all cleaned their oral cavities, only 34% brushed twice daily with a toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste. Eighty-eight percent affirmed that visiting the dental clinic was important and 36% had utilized dental service at least once; 21.5% was for a dental check.
Major reasons for non-utilization of dental services were lack of dental pain (24.3%) and no perceived need to access oral care (30.6%). There were significant associations between the age (p<0.01) and educational levels (p<0.01) of the subjects with the utilization of dental services.
Conclusion: A great need exists to increase dental awareness and a consequent utilization of dental services in this part of Nigeria.
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