Influence of Khat Chewing on Periodontal Tissues and Oral Hygiene Status among Yemenis

Abdulwahab I. Al-Kholani


Background: Khat chewing is popular among Yemenis. This study was performed to investigate the effects of khat chewing on periodontal tissue and oral hygiene status.

Methods: A total of 730 subjects (336 chewers and 394 non-chewers with a mean age of 31.5 ± 0.8 and 29.4 ± 0.9 years, respectively) were involved. Clinical data on periodontal tissues, oral hygiene status, gingival bleeding, burning sensation in the soft tissues, halitosis, ulcers in the oral cavity, difficulty in opening the mouth and swallowing solid food were collected to evaluate periodontal condition. Logistic regression analysis, student t test and chi-squared test were employed according to which hypotheses were being tested.

Results: The oral hygiene status of non-chewers was significantly better than that of chewers. The mean oral hygiene index of chewers was 2.12 ± 0.86 while that of non-chewers was 1.54 ± 1.12, the difference being statistically significant (P < 0.001). The incidence of gingival bleeding was significantly higher in khat-chewers. About 23% of chewers complained of difficulty in mouth-opening, as compared with only about 1% of non-chewers. Furthermore, 10% of chewers had difficulty in swallowing solid food. A burning sensation in the soft tissues was also found in a higher proportion of khat-chewers. Similarly, ulcers on the oral mucosa were present in about 7% of chewers, as compared to 0.5% of non-chewers. Gingival recession was present in about 51% and 26% of chewers and non-chewers, respectively.

Conclusion: There does appear to be a relationship between the effect of chewing khat on periodontal tissue and oral hygiene status.

Keywords: Chewers, Gingival Hemorrhage, Khat, Oral hygiene, Yemen.

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