The Knowledge of Dental Caries amongst Medical Practitioners in Benin City


  • Rebecca Ejodamen EZEBOR, BDS, MPH, FMCFD Dental Centre, Central Hospital, Benin City
  • Ngozi Angela EBIOGWU, BDS, FWACS, MHP&M Dental Centre, Central Hospital, Benin City


Dental caries, knowledge, medical practitioners


Objective: Dentists are few and dental awareness in most developing countries is poor. Medical
practitioners being the first point of call for most patients with oral complaints; are in the vantage position to
identify oral diseases and give prompt referral. The objective of this study was to assess the knowledge of
dental caries amongst medical practitioners in Benin City, Edo State.
Methods: The study was a cross-sectional, self-administered questionnaire survey of general medical
practitioners in three government hospitals in Benin City. The questionnaire assessed the knowledge of the
causes, risk factors, clinical features and prevention of dental caries.
Results: Eighty questionnaires were filled and returned. Nearly all the respondents 97.5% have been
consulted by patients with oral complaints; 67.5% carried out oral examinations while 97.5% have referred
patients with oral complaints. 20% of the respondents choose tooth surface, 83.8% frequency of sugar
consumption and 51.3% plaque as causes of dental caries. 52.5% of the respondents selected reduced saliva;
58.8% Diabetes mellitus; 28.8% radiotherapy while 26.3% selected medications as risk factors in dental
caries. 95.0% selected use of fluoride toothpaste; 72.5% avoiding sugary foods/drinks; and 83.8% regular
dental checkups as means of preventing dental caries. Only 9.7% of respondents had a good knowledge of
dental caries. The knowledge of dental caries amongst medical practitioners was poor.
Conclusion: Oral health should be inclusive in the curricula of both undergraduate medical students and
resident doctors especially those in general medical practices, family medicine and the accident and
emergency department.