Social and economic factors affecting eduntulism – A Nigerian perspective

Although this article is from a study by Nigerians, I hope you will find the information interesting and the conclusions surprisingly relevant to patients seen in dental practices in this country.

The study authors, Temitope Ayodeji Esan, Adeyemi Oluniyi Olusile, Patricia Adetokunbo Akeredolu and Ayodeji Omobolanle Esan are well-known and respected teachers and researchers.

General Background

While the rate of total edentulism has been seen to be decreasing in developed countries, the reverse is the case with developing countries and has mainly been attributed to the high prevalence of periodontal diseases and caries in these regions.

Several reports have shown that non-disease factors such as attitude, behaviour, dental attendance, characteristics of health care systems and socio-demographic factors play important roles in the aetiopathogenesis of edentulism.

Edentulism, an Indicator

Edentulism, both partial and total, is an indicator of the oral health of a population.

It may also be a reflection of the success of prevention and treatment modalities put in place by the local, regional or national health care delivery system.

It has also been found that many patients regard edentulism as a form of mutilation, and this attitude may be a strong incentive for them to seek dental treatment.

Some previous studies have shown non-disease factors like attitude, behaviour, level of practiced care, characteristics of any particular health care system, as well as socio-demographic factors all play important roles in the aetiopathogenesis of edentulism.

Other earlier studies reported that the incidence of edentulism correlated with educational levels and income status, with those in the lower levels exhibiting higher risks of becoming totally edentulous.

In addition, a study done in a rural area of Eastern Guatemala showed social and environmental influence such as poverty, lack of proper education and inadequate diet contributed to widespread premature and heavy losses of permanent teeth.

Gender and Socio-Demographic Factors

Edentulism has been reporter as having no differences with gender, but other studies have found more toothless men than women. They also observed that there was an inverse relationship between the level of education, income and edentulism.

Studies among Nigerians have linked some of these socio-demographic factors with the prevalence, pattern and rate of dental diseases but there has been no report on the influence of these on edentulism.

No significant relationship between gender and denture demand was noted in the study.

Demand for complete dentures increased with age while the demand for removable partial dentures also increased with age until the third decade, at which time demand started to decline.

Education and Economic Factors

A significant relationship was found between denture demand and the level of education, with a higher demand in lower educational groups. In addition, the lower socio-economic group had a higher demand for prostheses than the higher group.


The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between socio-demographic factors and edentulism.

In coming articles, we’ll be talking more about this study, and its implications.

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