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Kola nut (Kola nitida, Malvaceae) is one of the nuts consumed for socio-cultural reasons in West Africa sub-region and it has been used in Western African and Anglo-American herbal medicine as an antidepressant. The aim of this study was to evaluate the beneficial and adverse effect of kola nut consumption on the oral cavity.
This was a cross sectional survey conducted on Kola nuts consumers using a qualitative in-vitro analytical phyto-chemical screening and microbiological activity testing of the Kola nut samples.
One hundred and two volunteers participated in the study that was made up of 66(64.4 %) males and 36(35.3%) of females. Kola nuts consumers had the age of participants ranging between 20 to 60 years and derived from all social classes of the West African community. There was a high prevalence of dental attrition 95(93.3 %), arrested caries 95(93.3 %), and extrinsic stains 91(90 %). The DMFT (Decayed/Missing/Filled Teeth) score was 4.7.
The phytochemical screening of Kola nut showed the presence of phenol, tannin, flavonoids, alkaloids, anthocyanin, sterol, and antraquinone. Methanol extracts of Kola nitida showed no activity against the isolates of Candida spp. But there was less activity against Streptococcus spp and an average activity against Actinomycetes and isolate of Lactobacillus spp respectively.
Kolanut exhibited some degree of remineralization oral hard tissues, causing esthetic problems (dental staining) and non-carious dental tooth wear (attrition). Kola nut inhibited the growth of cariogenic bacteria and did not inhibit the growth of Candida albicans. Studies on intra-oral activities needs some further investigations to establish its importance to dental oral care. Results showed that extract of Kola nitida had antibacterial effects by inhibiting the growth of cariogenic bacteria of the mouth at certain level of concentration. The poor oral health seeking behaviours of participants were observed as factors contributing to a poor oral hygiene status and consequently the impairment of oral health of the kola nut consumers.