Introduction: prevalence of dentine hypersensitivity (DH) may be on the increase as a result of changing lifestyles. This study aimed to assess the prevalence of DH and relative importance of associated factors in 18-35 year old Nigerians and compare to findings from a similar European study.
Methods: following ethical approval, 1349 subjects from the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria participated in this cross sectional study. DH was clinically evaluated by cold air tooth stimulation, patient pain rating (yes/no) and investigator rated pain using the Schiff ordinal scale (0-3). Erosive tooth wear using the BEWE index was assessed. A questionnaire regarding the nature of the DH, erosive dietary intakes, tooth brushing habits and other factors was completed by patients. Bivariate analysis was conducted.
Results: 32.8% of patients reported pain on tooth stimulation and 32.9% scored ≥1 on Schiff scale for at least one tooth. Questionnaire reported sensitivity was 41.2%. There were statistically significant associations between Schiff score and clinically elicited DH (p < 0.001); and BEWE erosive tooth wear score and clinically elicited DH (p < 0.001). There were significant associations between DH and some oral hygiene practices such as brushing frequency, brush movement and brushing after breakfast. Fresh fruit and fruit/vegetable juice intake also showed significant association.
Conclusion: the most important risk factors of DH for this population in Nigeria appear to be the frequency and characteristics of tooth brushing. This should be considered in its prevention and management.