Associations between a history of sexual abuse and dental anxiety, caries experience and oral hygiene status among adolescents in sub-urban South West Nigeria

Morenike Oluwatoyin Folayan, Maha El Tantawi, Nourhan M. Aly, Abiola Adetokunbo Adeniyi, Elizabeth Oziegbe, Olaniyi Arowolo, Michael Alade, Boladale Mapayi, Nneka Maureen Chukwumah, Olakunle Oginni, Nadia A. Sam-Agudu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Sexual and oral health are important areas of focus for adolescent wellbeing. We assessed for the prevalence of sexual abuse among adolescents, oral health factors associated with this history, and investigated whether sexual abuse was a risk indicator for dental anxiety, caries experience and poor oral hygiene. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study conducted between December 2018 and January 2019 among adolescents 10–19 years old in Ile-Ife, Nigeria. Survey data collected included respondents’ age, sex, and socioeconomic status, oral health risk factors (dental anxiety, frequency of tooth brushing intake of refined carbohydrates in-between-meals, flossing, dental visits, smoking, alcohol intake, use of psychoactive substances), caries experience, oral hygiene status, history of sexual abuse, and sexual risk behaviors (age of sexual debut, history of transactional sex, last sexual act with or without condom, multiple sex partners). Regression models were constructed to determine the association between outcome variables (dental anxiety, presence of caries experience and poor oral hygiene) and explanatory variables (oral health risk factors and history of sexual abuse). Results: The prevalence of sexual abuse in our cohort was 5.9%: 4.3% among males and 7.9% among females. A history of sexual abuse was associated with alcohol consumption (p = 0.009), cigarette smoking (p = 0.001), and a history of transactional sex (p = 0.01). High/severe dental anxiety was significantly associated with increased odds of a history of sexual abuse (AOR = 1.81; 95% CI 1.10, 2.98), but not with caries experience (AOR = 0.66; 95% CI 0.15, 2.97) nor poor oral hygiene (AOR = 1.68; 95% CI 0.95, 2.96). Dental anxiety was associated with increased odds of alcohol intake (AOR = 1.74; 95% CI 1.19, 2.56), twice daily tooth brushing (AOR = 1.48; 95% CI 1.01, 2.17) and daily consumption of refined carbohydrates in-between-meals (AOR = 2.01; 95% CI 1.60, 2.54). Caries experience was associated with increased odds of using psychoactive substances (AOR = 4.83; 95% CI 1.49, 15.62) and having low socioeconomic status (AOR = 0.40; 95% CI 0.18, 0.92). Poor oral hygiene was associated with increased odds of having middle socioeconomic status (AOR = 1.43; 95% CI 1.05, 1.93) and daily consumption of refined carbohydrates in-between-meals (AOR = 1.38; 95% CI 1.08, 1.78). Conclusion: Adolescents who are highly dentally anxious need to be screened for a history of sexual abuse to facilitate access to professional care and support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number196
JournalBMC Oral Health
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Mental health
  • Nigeria
  • Oral health
  • Sexual and reproductive health

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