Purpose: To assess whether adolescents with periodontitis presented with higher scores for non-psychotic psychosocial disorders than control subjects without periodontitis.
Materials and Methods: A case control study (n = 160) nested in a well-defined adolescent population (n = 9,163) was performed using the 28-item Spanish version of the General Health Questionnaire. The inclusion criterion for being a case was a clinical attachment level of >= 3 mm in at least two teeth. Multiple logistic regression analyses were used to assess the association between periodontitis and psychosocial distress.
Results: The response rate was high and 94% of the participants answered all the items of the questionnaire. Similarly, the internal consistency of the instrument was high (Cronbachs = 0.91). The results of multiple logistic regression analyses, adjusted for age and gender, suggested an association between case status and higher total scoring for psychosocial distress (OR = 1.69). Among the four subdomains of the General Health Questionnaire, the dimensions somatic symptoms and severe depression appeared positively associated with periodontal case status, albeit not significantly.
Conclusion: The findings of this study suggest that the association between periodontitis and dimensions of psychosocial distress can be documented early in life. This calls for awareness on the part of healthcare providers attending adolescents.
Keywords: adolescents, coping, depression, periodontitis, stress