Sondang Pintauli, Nurdiana Nurdiana, Marline Nainggolan



Background: Betel nut chewing is an important cultural tradition that has been practiced from generation to generation of Indonesian people, one of them is Karo Batak tribe. Most chewers believe that chewing activity provides benefits that could give pleasure, eliminate bad breath, and strengthen the teeth. However, many researchers have revealed some serious health risks caused by betel nut chewing. This study aimed to describe the characteristics of betel quid chewing practice and to clinically detect oral health changes of the chewers.
Method: This cross-sectional study involved 20 women chewers, aged between 30-65 years old in Tiga Panah sub-district, Karo district of Sumatera Utara Province. The interview was used for data collection concerning betel nut chewing behaviour and oral examination to clinically detect the oral changes of the mucous. Data analysis was done quantitatively and qualitatively.
Result: The results showed that the chewing habit of 60.00% of respondents was initiated at the age of >25 years old. Most of them (75.00%) chew for 5-10 years with the frequency >10 times/day (55.55%). Most of the mucosal condition of chewers change from a brownish-red to brownish-black staining, with a wrinkled appearance, striated mucous, papules, and slightly pigmentation of the tongue.
Conclusion: Although no precancerous lesions were detected, it is concluded that the chewers were not aware of oral health that could damage their oral cavity. Therefore, it is needed to develop healthy behaviour strategies for the chewers without any impact on their oral health.

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