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Relationship between Dental Caries, Edentulism and Self-Perception of Oral Health in Adolescents, Adults and Elderly of a Municipality in Northeastern Brazil

Keywords: Dental Caries. Self Concept. Adolescent. Adult. Aged

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Abstract:

The diagnosis of conditions and self-perceived oral health status of individuals is fundamental in planning strategies and evaluation of health services. The aim of this study was to describe the prevalence of dental caries, edentulism and self-perception of oral health in adolescents, adults and elderly in a small city in northeastern Brazil. Additionally, we investigated the relationship between self-perception and the clinical variables studied. The study sample consisted of 139 subjects. In clinical examinations the DMFT index was used according to WHO criteria and information about self-perception was collected through interviews. The Chi-square, Mann Whitney and Fisher exact tests were used with 5% significance level . The DMFT index was 6.57 ± 4.17 for adolescents, 22.76 ± 7.63 for adults and 30.96 ± 2.82 for elderly. It was recorded predominance of negative self-perception of oral health among adults (58.6%) and positive self-perception among the elderly (57.7%). Negative self-perceptions of chewing (p <0.001) and speech (p = 0.001) were associated with increasing age. The DMFT index was higher among adolescents with a history of pain (p = 0.028). In adults, the negative self-perception of oral health (p = 0.007), appearance of teeth / gums (p = 0.003) and speech (p = 0.046) was associated with higher number of decayed teeth present. The discrepancy between positive self-perception of oral health and the presence of edentulism was highlighted. The results suggest the need to establish local policies for oral health aimed at promoting health and focused on preventing dental caries and edentulism

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