Social Impact of Dental Caries on Adult Patients in Bungoma County, Kenya
Keywords:Bungoma, Caries, Dental treatment , Tooth Decay
Dental caries manifests itself through the existence of a hole in the hard tissue of teeth, and it has a brown or black colour. Untreated dental caries causes a lot of challenges such as toothache and eventually tooth loss resulting in swelling, inability to eat or swallow, inability to open jaw or talk, difficulty in breathing and low self-esteem as a result of the bad breath from cavity. The outcome of the social effect of dental caries is the inability to pronounce or talk, inability to chew, sleep disruption due to pain and difficulty in breathing especially for those who use the mouth to breathe. In Bungoma County, little is known about the social impact of dental caries among patients. Therefore, there was a need to investigate the social impact on adult patients in Bungoma County, Kenya. This study was conducted in Bungoma County. The study adopted a descriptive cross-sectional study design. Adults with dental challenges and the dental staff formed the study population. The sample size was 347 dental patients. The sampling strategy was proportionate probability sampling and simple random sampling. Data was collected using a pretested WHO-modified assessment questionnaire of 2013, WHO-modified observation checklist and key informant interviews. Data was analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics with the aid of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences tool (SPSS) v 25.0. Data was presented using tables, figures, narratives and verbatim. Association and strength between the variables were assessed using correlation, multiple regression and logistical regression at 0.05. Thematic analysis was used to analyse qualitative data. Results: The burden of dental caries according to sociodemographic was as follows: youth < 35 years was 60%, the female was 57.4%, rural dwellers had 56.8% and low-income earners had 65.6%. The study established that poor oral hygiene habits (OR: 1.2) frequent consumption of sugary food (OR: 1.0) and smoking contributed (OR: 0.8). Toothache due to cavity was 97.9% and tooth loss was 40.4% while bad breath was reported by 60.7%. There was a significant strong positive association between the level of teeth loss and the level of pain experienced by a patient with dental caries, (r (347) = 0.86, p < 0.001). the study concluded that dental caries was more prominent in those with poor oral hygiene practices, those who frequently consume sugary foods and those who smoke tobacco. Toothache, tooth loss and bad breath were the major social impacts of dental caries that affect the quality of the affected. The study recommended that community members should be informed to foster a habit of attending dental clinics occasionally at least once a year for a check-up.
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