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Acta Odontol Scand. 2003 Feb;61(1):19-24.

Epidemiological dental indices and self-perceived oral health in adolescents: ecological aspects.

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Public Dental Services, Skövde, Sweden.


The aim of this study was to investigate the correlations between epidemiological indices (objective) and self-perceived oral health (subjective) in adolescents at school level, and to study gender differences in epidemiological indices and in self-perceived oral health. The study comprised two sets of data from Skaraborg County, Sweden: 1. Self-reported questionnaires answered by adolescents at all senior level schools (n = 9,559, 13-15 years). 2. Epidemiological indices based on clinical registrations of oral health in 13-15-year-old adolescents were collected in all 17 municipalities (n = 7,899). Simple and partial Pearson correlation coefficients were used to study correlations between subjective and objective oral health in the adolescents at school level. Gender differences in adolescents' subjective and objective oral health were estimated using a logistic regression model. The correlations between epidemiological index registrations and self-perceived oral health were weak. The strongest correlations were found between epidemiological indices and self-perceived gingival bleeding: 0.416 between the DS (decayed surfaces) index and self-perceived bleeding. Girls were less likely to be satisfied with the appearance of their teeth than boys were in municipalities with clinical good oral health OR 0.76 (95%) CI 0.59-0.98) and with poor clinical oral health OR 0.74 (CI 0.57-0.94). No gender differences were found in the epidemiological index registrations. The currently used epidemiological indices did not reflect adolescents' own perceptions of their oral health at school level and they could not recognize or identify gender differences. Surveillance of oral health in young people should include information on self-perceived oral health.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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