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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 50-53

Assessment of chewing stick (miswak) use in a Muslim community in Cameroon

1 Department of Community Dentistry, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
2 Department of Periodontics, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Clement C Azodo
Department of Periodontics, Room 21, 2nd Floor, Prof Ejide Dental Complex, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, P.M.B. 1111 Ugbowo, Benin City, Edo State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2278-9626.106811

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Objective: To determine the prevalence and reasons for chewing stick use among adult Muslim's inhabitants of Banyo in the Adamawa region of Cameroon. Materials and Methods: This questionnaire-based cross-sectional study aimed at determining the prevalence and reasons for chewing stick use among Muslims was conducted between November 2010 and April 2011. Results: Of the 220 participants in this study, 187 (85.0%) of them reported chewing stick use for teeth cleaning, and this was higher among males than females. Chewing stick use increased with ageing and varied among participants of different professions. Chewing stick users accented that the chewing stick use has a relationship with religion, and believed that chewing stick has a positive effect in the mouth than the non-users. Chewing stick users were less likely to have visited the dentist and experienced mouth odor but more likely to report oral health problems than non-users. The majority of the participants used chewing stick alone while a few used chewing stick with salt, charcoal and toothpaste The reasons for chewing stick use were religious advice, treatment of oral diseases, imitation of others and pleasure. Conclusion: Chewing stick use was common among participants with religious advice being the most dominant reason for the usage. Chewing stick users were less likely to visit the dentist, experience mouth odor but are more likely to report oral health problem than the non-users. This study information will serve as a useful guide in community oral health interventional development programme among Muslims.

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