The oral & dental conditions of the people of Ibb governerate [Archives:2004/769/Health]

September 2 2004


During my work as a dental & oral surgeon in the dental clinic of Al_NOUD hospital in the Ibb governate, I had collected many notes about the general oral & dental conditions & the DMF index from the patients who had attended the clinic during that period of time.

1. There was a high incidence of fluorosis ranging from mild, to moderate
and severe.
2. There was a high incidence of tooth decay (despite the high incidence of fluorosis!) especially the posterior teeth (upper & lower molars); and the majority of the cases of decay are of class V
3. Oral hygiene was generally poor. Most of the patients have chronic periodontitis associated with teeth mobility.
4. As for the condition of other soft oral tissues, I had noted that there was a high incidence of swelling in cheek mucous especially near the retromolar region; and also there was a high percentage of patients with dry mouth and fissured, dry lips.
I blame all these problems that I have mentioned above on many factors such as:
The habit of qat chewing, which is a national epidemic. This plant has many pharmacological compounds such as Ephedrine, Amphetamine & Atropine.
The traditional way to chew qat, is to collect the pulp in the vestibule space between the posterior teeth and the check. People keep the leafs of the plant after chewing them in that place for many reasons, e.g. the slow release of the qat substances and the possibility of absorption that occur through the oral mucous. Another reason is a psychological satisfaction that is gained through this process. Also many people drink sweet drinks or sometimes alcohol. The stagnation of the sugar contained in the drinks will give the chance for bacterial fermentation of the sugar and the occurrence of decay and other related pathological conditions. In addition there is the destructive irritating effect of alcohol due to its cytotoxicity.
The second factor is low level of dental & oral education; patients are rare who have a sense of dental and oral hygiene, and those who brush their teeth are likewise very few.
There is an old tradition of teeth brushing with Meswak, but although it has some favorable mechanical cleaning effect, it is not a sufficient measure, especially nowadays when you can buy several kinds of soft ready made foods and a huge variety of sweets, especially chocolate and other sticky foods.
The last factor is heavy smoking, which is a well-known problem.