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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Social aspects of the dental health of the rural Maasai community in Kenya
Authors:Hassanali, J.ISNI
Amwayi, P.
Muriithi, A.
Periodical:Discovery and Innovation
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Kenya
East Africa
Medicine, Nutrition, Public Health
Masai (African people)
Dental diseases
Abstract:The aim of the present study is to establish both dental treatment and dental health education needs among the rural Maasai of Kenya. Particular attention is paid to the extraction of mandibular central incisors, which is a Maasai traditional practice, and the extraction of deciduous canine tooth buds in babies, a recent practice dictated by the belief that these tooth buds cause diarrhoea and vomiting. Intraoral examinations of 95 children aged six months to two years and 145 preschool and primary school children from rural Maasai communities were carried out in five centres located in Kajiado district during 1991/1992, in collaboration with the Nomadic Health Unit of African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF). Adult Maasai women, men and teachers were interviewed regarding oral hygiene practices in general and the extraction of mandibular central incisors and deciduous canine tooth buds in particular. The findings indicate that most of the children had good oral hygiene. The authors argue that the practice of extracting the deciduous canine tooth buds should be discouraged and stopped since the immediate complications which may arise from the surgical procedure may be lethal. Bibliogr.