Aim: In Nigeria, alongside other developing countries, the pharmacy is the first resource for people with varied health conditions. It is likely that individuals suffering from toothache would contact the community pharmacist (CP) first rather than the dentist. This is because most illnesses are treated by self-medication. This study looks at the types of oral health conditions and treatment needs encountered by CPs in Plateau State, Nigeria.
Materials and methods: A quantitative cross-sectional study on CPs spanning all 17 local government areas (LGAs) in Plateau State was conducted. Data collection was survey method using paper-based self-administered questionnaires.
Results: Community pharmacists (113) participated in the study. In all, per week, about 534 patients requiring oral health care were seen by the CPs; 25% of the CPs encounter these patients daily. There was a positive correlation between these patients (534) and the average daily patient traffic to the pharmacies (7,018), Pearson's correlation coefficient, r was 0.443 (p = 0.000). Toothache (94.7%) was the most common oral health advice requested followed by bad breath (69.9%) and teething (69%). Nearly all (96.5%) the CPs provide some form of service to clients who approach them with oral health problems.
Conclusion: Community pharmacies by virtue of their locations and services make them a facility frequently visited by patients with oral health complaints. A lot of patients contact them regularly for different oral health needs.
Clinical significance:The vantage position of CPs in the community makes them viable sources of oral health information. Thus, CPs can be engaged in oral health-promotion activities complementing the functions of oral health care workers. This might help reduce oral health disparities by increasing oral health awareness, improving oral health-seeking behavior, better oral hygiene practices, and improving the quality of life via costeffective delivery of pharmacy-based oral health care services.
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