Dental auxiliaries in tertiary hospitals in Nigeria; oral hygiene practices and dental service utilization


  • Grace Onyenashia ALADE Department of Preventive and Social Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, College of Health Sciences, University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Nigeria.
  • Kehinde Adesola UMEIZUDIKE Department of Preventive Dentistry, Faculty of Dental Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Idiaraba, Lagos State, Nigeria.
  • Babatope Bamidele OSAGBEMIRO Department of Preventive Dentistry, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Rivers State, Nigeria.
  • Modupe Temitope OYETADE Department of Periodontology and Community Dentistry, University of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria.


Objective: This study was aimed at determining the oral
self-care practices and dental service utilization among
dental auxiliaries in teaching hospitals in Nigeria, and also
to assess the dental utilization of their relatives.
Methods: This was a descriptive, cross-sectional
multicenter study conducted among dental auxiliaries
from three teaching hospitals in Nigeria, namely;
University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) Port
Harcourt, Rivers State, Lagos University Teaching Hospital
(LUTH) Idi-araba, Lagos State and University College
Hospital, (UCH) Ibadan, Oyo State Nigeria. Selfadministered
questionnaires were used to obtain
information on participants’ sociodemography, oral
hygiene practices and dental service utilization. The self -
rated oral health status was used to assess their oral health
behavior (frequency of brushing, regular check-up and
fluoride application). Statistical analysis was done using
the IBM SPSS version 20.0. Statistical significance level
was considered at p ? 0.05.
Results: A total of 101 participants were enrolled into the
study, consisting of dental nurses (16[15.8%]), dental
technicians (21[20.8%]), dental technologists (46[45.5%])
and dental therapists (18[17.8%]). The mean age of the
participants was 35.12 ± 8.89 years. Female: Male ratio was
2.26: 1. Most (90.1%) of the study participants rated their
oral hygiene as excellent. Slightly over half (57.4%) brushed
twice daily; 25% of the dental nurses, 52.4% of the dental
technicians, 58.7% of the dental technologists and 88.9%
of the dental therapists, this was statistically significant
(p=0.002). Frequency of dental check-up for six months
among the participants was low (31.7%). Only 31 (30.7%) of
the participants had scaling and polishing done in the last
6 months. More of the dental nurses (93.8%) and
technicians (71.4%) had invited their relatives for scaling
and polishing compared to the other dental auxiliaries
Conclusion: Even though the dental therapists had better
tooth brushing practices in this study, the oral hygiene
practices and utilization of dental services by the dental
auxiliaries were generally less than optimal. There was a
disparity between the self-rated oral health status and oral
health practices of the dental auxiliaries. There is need for
better motivation of dental auxiliaries towards optimal oral
hygiene behavior.