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Self-assessed dental health, oral health practices, and general health behaviors in Chinese urban adolescents

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The objectives of this study were: to describe perceived dental health status and oral health-related knowledge, attitudes, and behavior in Chinese urban adolescents; to assess the associations of oral health variables with socio-economic status and school performance; and to analyse the relative effect of socio-behavioral risk factors on perceived dental health, perceived need for dental care, and experience of dental symptoms. A cross-sectional survey of 2662 adolescents was conducted in eight capital cities in China; the response rate was 92%. The study population was chosen by multistage cluster sampling and covered three age groups: 11, 13, and 15 years. Data on dental and general health were collected by self-administered questionnaires. Self-assessment of dental health of Chinese adolescents was generally good, only 12% of the students answered that their teeth were "poor" or "very poor", and 9% claimed having "poor" or "very poor" gums. Eleven percent of participants said that other students made fun of their teeth; 24% of the respondents were dissatisfied with the appearance of their teeth, and 41% claimed that they had experienced toothache or symptoms during the previous 12 months. Positive attitudes towards dental care were found in all age groups; 67% of adolescents brushed their teeth at least twice a day and 48% of the students used fluoridated toothpaste. Only 26% of the students visited a dentist during the previous 12 months. In all, 6% of the adolescents had tried cigarette smoking at least once, while 41% reported having tasted alcohol drinks. Multivariate regression analyses showed that perceived dental health status and needs were associated with gender, age, unhealthy lifestyles, poor school performance, and socio-economic status. The establishment of school-based health promotion programs in China is urgently needed, and promotion of oral health lifestyles should be integrated with other general health actions.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftActa Odontologica Scandinavica
Vol/bind63
Udgave nummer6
Sider (fra-til)343-52
Antal sider10
ISSN0001-6357
StatusUdgivet - nov. 2005

ID: 118519930