The magnitude of tooth bud extraction in Uganda


J. F. Tirwomwe1, E. Agwu2* and M. Ssamula3

Uganda traditional healers consider that extraction of un-erupted deciduous canines cures childhood diarrhea, vomiting and fever. This study was therefore designed to establish tooth bud extraction (TBE) practice and determine the prevalence of missing deciduous teeth due to TBE in Uganda. Purposive multistage sampling was used to get a total of 1,121 children (<36 months), who were clinically examined. Interviews of identified parents, traditional healers, elders and health workers were conducted using questionnaires. Results were analyzed using epi-info version 5. TBE was found in 29.3% of the children. This was the highest among Nilotics (45.5%) and the lowest among Bantus (22.3%). It differed significantly across the six districts (p-value < 0.01). The mean number of affected teeth per child was 3.8, and 99.4% of these were canines. TBE was higher in children staying with guardians as compared to those staying with parents (p<0.01). Children from rural areas were more affected (33.8%) than those in the urban areas (23.9%). The operation was carried out by traditional healers using crude and unsterile instruments without anesthesia. TBE was the highest in the north and the lowest in the south, supporting the suggestion that it spread from Northern Uganda Southwards. TBE in Uganda is a real health problem that needs further investigation and appropriate intervention.


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