The Role of Socioeconomic Class on Oral Healthcare Practices and Oral Health Status of Secondary School Students in Lagos, Nigeria

Role of SEC on oral health of adolescents


  • Uchenna P. EGBUNAH
  • Oyinkansola O. SOFOLA
  • Omolara G. UTI


Socioeconomic class, oral healthcare practices, oral health status, secondary school students


Background: Secondary school students are at a crucial stage in their life where decisions on oral health transit from the role of parents/guardians to their sole responsibility. Understanding factors that influence their oral healthcare practices is of paramount importance. Socioeconomic class (SEC) has been suggested to have a varied effect on oral health.
Objective: To determine the effect of SEC on the oral healthcare practices and oral health status of secondary school students

Methods: The research was a descriptive cross-sectional study. Information collected via a self-administered questionnaire included socio-demographic characteristics, SEC, oral hygiene practices, dietary habits, oral healthcare utilization and oral health perception.

Results: A total of 370 students with mean age 15.0+1.44 participated in the study. SEC distribution was low class 32%, middle class 55%; high class 13%. There were significant associations between high SEC and twice-daily tooth brushing (p<0.05), frequent change of toothbrush (p<0.05), use of dental floss (p<0.05), consumption of carbonated drinks (p<0.05), low oral hygiene index score (p<0.05), high caries experience (p<0.005) and high oral healthcare utilization (p<0.05).

Conclusion: Higher SEC is associated with better oral hygiene and oral hygiene practices, poorer dietary habits and higher caries experience.

Author Biographies

Uchenna P. EGBUNAH

Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery,Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi – Araba, Lagos, Nigeria

Oyinkansola O. SOFOLA

Department of Preventive Dentistry, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi – Araba, Lagos, Nigeria

Omolara G. UTI

Department of Preventive Dentistry, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi – Araba, Lagos, Nigeria