Abstract

Objective: To determine the relationship between dental anxiety, expected social outcome and halitosis
among undergraduates of University of Benin. Nigeria.
Methods: This questionnaire-based cross-sectional study among 150 students. This self-administered
questionnaire elicited information on oral concerns, dental anxiety, self-reported perception of oral breath,
awareness of bad breath, timing of bad breath, treatment received for bad breath, oral hygiene practices and
smoking. Data analysis was done using IBM SPSS version 20.0 and statistical significance was set at p<0.05.
Results: The majority of the participants attach high importance to their body (78.7%) and mouth (75.3%).
More than half (54.0%) of the participants clean their mouth more than once daily and 14.7% of them
consume tobacco. The prevalence of gingival bleeding, halitosis and dental anxiety among the participants
was 31.3%, 34% and 26% respectively. The mean anxiety score for anticipated dental visit was 2.48±1.60,
waiting room 2.37 ±1.38 tooth drill 3.35±1.16, tooth scale and polish 2.71±1.20, anaesthetics injection
3.98±1.31 and overall dental anxiety 14.88±5.17. The dental anxiety was higher among participants older
than 22 years (15.27±5.22), males (15.24±5.25), non-indigenous participants (15.04±5.64), participants
studying non science related courses (14.89±5.83), less religious participants (15.29±5.04), participants
who clean their teeth more than once daily (14.84±5.51), tobacco users (16.00±4.31), participants with
gingival bleeding (16.02±5.51) and participants with halitosis (16.39±5.00) . The majority of the halitosis
sufferers had experienced it for less than 1 month (37.3%) and it was usually worse in the morning (45.1%).
Less religious participants (P=0.038), those with low expected social outcome (P=0.033), irregular teeth
cleaner (P=0.008) and anxious participants (P=0.001) significantly reported halitosis more than their
counterparts. Regression statistical analysis revealed that dental anxiety emerged as the significant predictor
of halitosis.
Conclusion: Dental anxiety, halitosis and high expected social outcome were prevalent among the
participants. Dental anxiety emerged as the significant predictor of halitosis in this study.