Revista de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 0124-0064
SALIBA-GARBIN, Cléa A et al. Adolescents' perception of oral health . Rev. salud pública [online]. 2009, vol.11, n.2, pp. 268-277. ISSN 0124-0064. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0124-00642009000200011.
Objective An individual does not always experience the best health and vitality indexes during her/his adolescence. This study evaluated young people's awareness of their oral health and the factors involved in dental maintenance and promotion Material and Method Adolescents (n=493) from the Mirim Foundation in the town of Araçatuba in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, were asked to fill in a semi-structured questionnaire. Results 68.4 % of the youngsters interviewed regarded oral health as referring to hygiene and 16.2 % to physical appearance; 53.6 % of the group perceived their oral health to be good and 24 % optimum. 90.1 % indicated oral hygiene when asked how oral health could be ensured; however, only 4.8 % mentioned brushing their tongues. Physical appearance (62.9 %) was one of the main reasons stated as being important for teeth. A statistically significant relationship was observed between perception of regular dental and mouth health and having visited the dentist at least six months beforehand (x 2 =30.75; p<0.05). Conclusion Even though the youngsters had a general idea regarding their oral health, its maintenance and promotion, better information should be made available regarding such topics and be approached through health education so that these adolescents can have good oral health for the rest of their lives, as well as becoming knowledge multiplying agents for those who do not have access to the same information.
Keywords : Preventative dentistry; oral health; health education; adolescent.