• premalignant lesions;
  • infection;
  • geographic tongue;
  • temporomandibular joint impairment

Objective:  To determine the prevalence of oral mucosal lesions, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) impairment and oral health-related habits in the elderly people in South East Local Government Area (SELGA) in Ibadan.

Background data:  SELGA is one of the largest local government areas in Oyo State, Nigeria and has a population of 225 800.

Design:  A cross-sectional survey.

Methodology:  A randomly selected sample of 690 elderly people from 23 wards in SELGA were examined by two trained and calibrated examiners using mirror, probe and natural light.

Results:  One hundred and fifty-five (22.46%) of the elderly examined had one or more oral pathology lesions, representing infection-related swelling, non-infection-related swelling, pre-malignant lesions, denture stomatitis, non-denture based ulcers, angular cheilitis, geographic tongue, scrotal tongue, lichen planus, hyper-pigmentation and TMJ impairment.

Fifty-five (35.5%) of these pathologies were infection-related swellings. Six (3.9%) of the pathologies were denture-related stomatitis, 14(9.03%) were pre-malignant lesions, 14(9.03%) were non-infection-related swelling, while 27 (17.4%) were TMJ impairment. The rest of the lesions constituted the remaining 25.1%. Only 15.9% of the participants had tobacco-related habits, 10.7% drank alcohol, whilst 41.6% chewed kola nuts.

Conclusion:  Oral pathoses prevalence (22.46%) was similar to findings in developed countries (29.9%) but with a reversal of causal factors, infection-related swellings were more common, whereas pre-malignant lesions were less common. The infections were mostly complications from periodontal disease, which culminated in abscess formation. Tobacco-related habits were not highly prevalent among the elderly people in SELGA. However, oral pathoses resulting from nutritional deficiencies were the third most frequent lesions observed.