Self-assessment of oral health status, behaviours and oral health risk factors among adolescents from urban and peri-urban public schools in Maputo City
Mepatia, Amália Issufo
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A good oral health self-perception can contribute to improved knowledge of oral health self-care and practice as well as increase the proper use of dental care services. This study evaluated how adolescents from urban and peri-urban Maputo City assess their oral health status, behaviour and oral health risk factors. This is an analytic cross-sectional study, conducted in the urban and peri-urban schools of Maputo City involving adolescents in the age groups of 12 and 15-19 years old. The study was carried out in five schools, three Complete Primary schools and two Secondary schools from urban and peri-urban areas in Maputo City selected by convenience due to their geographic location. The size of the sample was 500 comprising 236 twelve year olds and 264 15-19 year olds. Data was collected using a self-completion questionnaire designed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and translated into Portuguese. The questionnaire included variables such as socio-demographic data (age, gender, location and parent or guardian level of education), self-assessment of oral health status and quality of life; self reported oral health behaviour and lifestyles, oral health risk factor knowledge (alcohol, tobacco and dietary), dental visits and daily impact of oral health. Chi-square for associations and a Spearman correlation tests were used to determine relationships between categorical data. All tests were assumed statistically significant at p≤0.05. The results showed that most of the adolescents classified their teeth (49.7%) and gum (38.2%) health as normal. There was no statistical difference between adolescents from urban and peri-urban schools (Spearman rs (399) = 0,114, p =0,02). The majority (n=322; 65.2%) of the adolescents clean their teeth twice a day. There was no difference between school level (primary and secondary school) and frequency of teeth cleaning. Most of the adolescents use a toothbrush (97.8%) and toothpaste (93.5%) to clean their teeth and only 11.9% also use dental floss but 52.1% didn´t know if their toothpaste was fluoridated or not. Smoking was reported by less than 1% of the adolescents. The main reason for dental service utilization, (reported by 67.5%) was pain or problems with teeth, gums or mouth. There was an association between oral health status and problems experienced in daily life because of their teeth and mouth. There was no significant difference for oral health assessment, risk factors and behaviours, between adolescents from urban and peri-urban schools. Although some satisfactory results were found, the need to strengthen oral health promotion in schools is high, especially considering the causes for dental service utilization were mostly pain and trouble with teeth in this group.