AbstractOral habits are repetitive actions that are done automatically. These behaviours are started and stopped spontaneously with or without deleterious effect on the developing occlusion. Aim: To explore the family related factors associated with oral habits in children resident in sub-urban Nigeria. Methods: A cross sectional study utilizing a household survey to recruit 992 1year to 12-year-olds. Information collected using a structured questionnaire included gender, family structure (parenting structure, birth rank, number of siblings, socioeconomic status) and types of non-nutritive habits. The association between family structures related variables and presence of non-nutritive oral habits was determined using Chi square. Logistic regression was used to determine the predictors of presence of oral habits. Results: There was no significant association between the prevalence of oral habits and parenting structure (p=0.52), birth rank (p=0.50) and socioeconomic status (p=0.14). However, the association between oral habits prevalence and number of siblings the child had was significant (p=0.03). The odds of having a non-nutritive oral habit reduced insignificantly for those from middle (AOR: 0.67; 95% CI: 0.42-1.08) and low (AOR: 0.96; 95% CI: 0.59-1.55) socioeconomic class when compared with those with high socioeconomic status; and for last born and only children (AOR: 0.94; 95% CI: 0.56-1.60) and children with 2-4 siblings (AOR: 0.62; 95% CI: 0.36-1.09) when compared with those that have more than 4 siblings. The odds were higher for children who were living with single parents or guardians (AOR: 1.41; 95% CI: 0.76-2.59; p=0.27) and for males (AOR: 1.21; 95% CI: 0.82-1.78). Conclusion: The study was unable to identify a significant family related predictor of presence of non-nutritive oral habits in the study population though a number of these factors increased the odds of having the habits. There is need to explore if specific family factors are associated with the presence of specific non-nutritive habits in this group of children.
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