Oral hygiene habits and status of orthodontic patients attending the University of Pretoria, Oral and Dental Hospital

Keywords: oral hygiene habits, orthodontic patients


Most orthodontic patients struggle to maintain good oral hygiene during treatment. To determine oral hygiene habits and status of patients undergoing fixed orthodontic treatment at University of Pretoria, Oral and Dental Hospital. A cross-sectional descriptive study. A modified, validated, self-administered questionnaire was used, and clinical examinations were conducted using Orthodontic Plaque Index, Gingival index, and Bleeding index. The questionnaire sought to determine knowledge and practice patterns. Data analysis included frequencies and correlations using chi-square test, with a significance of p<0.05.
Fifty patients participated with 34(68%) being female with ages from 10 to 28 and a mean of 18,5. Seventy percent avoided sticky foodstuff, 74% used mouthwash, 56% flossed daily and 84% brushed twice daily. However, 82% consumed sugar containing drinks. Clinical exam revealed an Orthodontic Plaque Index mean
of 2.6, Gingival Index mean of 0.1 while the Bleeding Index was 13.3 and 90% had normal gingiva. There was a significant difference in Gingival Index score between patients at age category 10-19 and 18-24 (p< 0.05). This study revealed a satisfactory oral hygiene status among patients at the institution with the majority of patients maintaining good oral hygiene practices. However, 82% consumed sugar sweetened beverages.


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