Purpose: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the possible interaction between the type of secondary school attended, oral clinical data and self-perceived oral health (SPOH) behaviour among Italian adolescents. Materials and Methods: A total of 913 adolescents living in Milan (Italy), attending two different types of secondary schools, grammar and technical secondary schools, were examined regarding dental caries and gingival conditions. Oral health behaviour data were collected using an anonymous questionnaire. The presence of caries was recorded using the decayed missed filled tooth (DMFT) index, gingival conditions with community periodontal index (CPI) following World Health Organization recommendations. Stepwise logistic regression was applied to determine whether the type of school attended was associated with the clinical outcome variables and subjects SPOH and with oral health or lifestyle behaviour. Results: The prevalence of caries was 59.8% (95% CI = 41.3 to 76.8); a third of participants showed a CPI = 0, whereas 34.9% had bleeding at probing and 37.9% had calculus. Caries distribution was significantly related to the type of school attended in each score of the DMFT categorisation (P < 0.01). Experience of tooth discomfort was claimed by 23.6% of subjects from grammar schools and 35.3% from technical schools (P < 0.01). In males, CPI ≥ 1 was associated with the type of school, OR = 1.6 (95% CI = 1.1 to 2.5), the highest DMFT score and experience of self-perceived tooth discomfort, OR = 1.6 (95% CI = 1.2 to 2.0) and OR = 1.2 (95% CI = 1.4 to 2.6), respectively. In females, only CPI ≥ 1 and highest DMFT score were associated with the type of school, OR = 2.1 (95% CI = 1.3 to 3.3) and OR = 1.6 (95% CI = 1.2 to 2.0), respectively. Conclusions: The type of school is a sensitive indicator of oral health status among adolescents.
Keywords: adolescents, cross-sectional studies, epidemiology, oral health, socioeconomic status