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PSYCHOSOCIAL EFFECTS OF HALITOSIS AMONG MEDICAL AND DENTAL STUDENTS IN THE UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI

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Background
Bad breath affects just about everyone at one time or the other and raises no particular
need for attention. However, halitosis, a condition presenting with persistent bad breath,
brings about damaging feelings of lowered self-esteem and a heightened state of self-
COnSCIOUSness.
Main Objective
This study was aimed at establishing the psychosocial effects of halitosis and
pseudohalitosis among medical and dental students in the University of Nairobi.
Study Design
This was a descriptive cross-sectional study.
Study Area
The study was carried out in the University of Nairobi, School of Medicine and School of
Dental Sciences.
Study Participants
A total of 309 students were recruited into the study using the stratified random sampling
method.
Data Collection and Analysis
Data was collected using self-administered questionnaires. Data analysis was done using
the SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences) program, Version 17, and Microsoft
Excel.
Results
A total of 294 respondents (95.2%) felt that halitosis has an effect on one's self
confidence, 92 respondents (29.8%) reported of having avoided conversation at one point
x
or the other because of halitosis, and 97.1% of respondents (300 individuals) felt that
halitosis has an effect on one's social life. 232 of the respondents (75.1%) indicated that
they believed halitosis has an effect on academic endeavors requiring interaction with the
public, while 162 respondents (52.5%) indicated that they believed that halitosis can
make one miss out on an employment opportunity.
A total of 57.6% of the respondents (178 individuals) disagreed with the statement that
halitosis can be the sole cause of ruin to one's life, and 277 individuals (89.7%) indicated
that they felt that cure to halitosis can result in a marked change in the quality of one's
life.
Study Benefits
The findings of this study could be used to formulate health education strategies aimed at
reducing the psychosocial effects of halitosis and pseudohalitosis among medical and
dental students in both the University of Nairobi, and in the general Kenyan population.
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