Abstract

Objective: To compare the use of dental floss among diverse groups in Benin City and to determine their
knowledge of what a dental floss is.
Methods: The data for this study was generated from three different questionnaire based surveys carried
out among Nigerian primary school teachers (n=620), oral health workers (n=109) and university
undergraduates (n=372). The oral health workers were considered the group with formal dental training
and they were used to compare the other two groups without any formal dental training. The questionnaire
elicited the used of dental floss in the three groups and determined what the primary school teachers and
undergraduate think a dental floss is.
Results: A vast majority of the primary school teachers (91.5%) and the university undergraduates (79.9%)
did not make use of dental floss when compared to the high proportion (87.2%) of oral health workers who
make use of it. (P=0.001). Greater proportion of the primary school teachers (59.5%) had no knowledge of
what a dental floss is and 43.3% of the university undergraduates gave responses reflecting poor knowledge.
The proportion of the school teachers and undergraduates who felt that dental floss was a drink used to
prevent dental caries was 5.0% and 12.1% respectively. A few of the primary school teachers (7.1%) and
undergraduates (31.1%) also felt dental floss is a drug given to patient with gum problems while 59.5% of
primary school teachers and 15.0% of the undergraduate did not have any idea what dental floss is.
Conclusion: This study showed that the knowledge of what a dental floss is and its use, among primary
school teachers and university undergraduates, is very poor when compared with oral health workers