INTRODUCTION: Tobacco use is one of the main risk factors for number of chronic diseases including cardiovascular diseases, lung cancer and oral cancer. Tobacco epidemic is one of the public health threats killing nearly six million people yearly. Tobacco use also contributes to poor oral health causing staining, bad breath and tooth decay. Different studies in India are suggestive of upward trend in use of tobacco even in adolescents.
OBJECTIVES: To find the prevalence of tobacco use among adolescents in an urban slum and to assess the oral health status among them.
METHODOLOGY: This cross sectional study was done as a part of oral health assessment camp conducted in an urban slum. All adolescents attending the camp were recruited in the study after due informed consent, the final sample size being 130.
RESULTS: The overall tobacco use among adolescents was found to be 95.8% adolescent boys and 27.6% among adolescent girls. The most common reasons cited for tobacco use were peer pressure followed by parent’s influence. Smokeless tobacco (dry tobacco, lime, guthka) was consumed by 39.13% boys and 19% girls. Smoking was prevalent among 16.7% boys and 8.6% girls. However 41.7 % adolescent boys consumed both forms of tobacco. Prevalence of dental caries was high in both boys (77.7%) and girls (55.2%). The presence of tartar was found in 47.3% boys and 22.4% girls. Bleeding gums was found in more no. of girls (29.3%) as compared to boys (25%). The other morbidities found on examination were ulcer (16.7% boys and 3.5% girls), Oral submucous fibrosis was seen in 27.8% boys and 3.5% girls.
CONCLUSION: Appropriate intervention is required as adolescence is a tender period where these risk factors like tobacco consumption and oral hygiene could be modified by awareness and counselling.
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