OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to characterise the daily oral hygiene behaviours and the frequency of, and reasons for, oral health appointments, among 12-year-old adolescents in Portugal. We also investigated whether there were any associations between these behaviours and sociodemographic factors.
METHODS: We conducted an observational descriptive study based on 1,309 Portuguese adolescents from rural, peri-urban and urban populations. Data were drawn from the III National Prevalence Study of Oral Health Diseases. After descriptive analyses, binary logistic regression models were used.
RESULTS: In this study, 70.6% (n = 924) of adolescents reported that they brushed 'twice a day or more', and this behaviour was associated with all sociodemographic variables. Multivariate analysis revealed that male gender [odds ratio (OR) = 2.124; 95% confidence interval (95% CI): 1.616-2.793], rural residence (OR = 1.647; 95% CI: 1.169-2.321), peri-urban residence (OR = 1.926; 95% CI: 1.319-2.812), low level of maternal educational (OR = 2.139; 95% CI: 1.446-3.164) and father's unemployment (OR = 1.671; 95% CI: 1.127-2.478) were associated with not brushing at least twice a day (P < 0.05). Approximately 94% (n = 1,217) of participants had already visited an oral health professional, and 74.5% (n = 860) did so in the last 12 months.
CONCLUSION: Our results are in agreement with the literature; the oral health behaviours of 12-year-old Portuguese adolescents can be regarded as satisfactory, although there are important variations across different subpopulations. The influence of sociodemographic factors suggests that tailored strategies must be developed for specific subpopulations, at both individual and community levels.
- Journal Article