Date of Graduation

5-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Department

Nursing

Advisor/Mentor

Agana, Carol

Committee Member/Reader

Lofton, Ann

Abstract

Dental hygiene is an important contributor to our overall health. Poor dental hygiene practices can lead to plaque buildup, cavities formation, tooth decay, and infection. Infection that began as a result of poor oral hygiene can spread to other parts of the body and cause more serious conditions to develop. Dental health is not a priority among Ghanaian residents and there is a need for updated, evidence based research about this topic. This literature review focuses on community health nursing in Ghana, Africa regarding dental hygiene of the pediatric population in this country. The primary focus is to compare the differences in the oral health and hygiene of this population based on urban versus rural residence. An additional focus is the need for preventive measures and education implementation of oral hygiene practices. In November of 2020, the database MEDLINE Complete (Ebsco), was searched in order to find primary, peer reviewed articles for this literature review. After implementing exclusion criteria and undergoing an abstract review of remaining articles, I was left with 24 articles to be included in this review that underwent a full text evaluation. My focus was then narrowed on comparing four articles that were chosen based on their relevance to the primary purpose of this study. All four articles provided findings on contributions to oral health due to urban versus rural status, with a population focus of children ranging from ages 4-18. It was found that the fluoride ion concentration levels were higher in urban than rural areas of Ghana, which is a risk factor for the development of dental fluorosis in children. The urban pediatric population was more likely to consume sugary foods and drinks, which contributed to the development of plaque and dental carie rates. Plaque accumulation, calculus deposits, gingival inflammation and severity, and the prevalence of gingival disease were all seen to increase with increasing age. Dental caries prevalence was found to be low among all populations, but followed the trend of increasing with increasing age. There is a need for preventative education regarding oral hygiene practices, such as proper teeth brushing and dietary habits, to prevent the development of infections and prevent an increase in dental caries rates among the Ghanaian pediatric population. Updated research needs to be conducted with a focus on positive versus negative outcomes of oral health following implementation of various preventive measures among the urban versus rural populations in Ghana, Africa.

Keywords

Ghana, pediatrics, dental hygiene, prevention

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