Self-perception of oral health status is a multidimensional construct that includes psychological, psychosocial and functional aspects of oral health. Contemporary concepts suggest that the evaluation of health needs should focus on clinical standards and socio-dental indicators that measure the impact of health/disease on the individual quality of life. Oral health cannot be dissociated from general health. This study evaluates a possible association between oral health status, body size, self-perception of oral health, self-perception of body size and dissatisfaction with body image in prepubertal children with mixed dentition, targeting the completion of children’s health status assessment which will further allow the identification of individuals at risk and could be further used as an evaluation of the need for specific interventions.
The present study is cross-sectional in design and uses data from 710 pre-pubertal children with mixed dentition. The outcome variables comprised one item self-perception of oral health: dmft/DMFT Index and Dental Aesthetic Index, body size, self-assessed body size and desired body size. Multiple logistic regression analyses were performed. The level of significance was set at 5%.
More than a half (53.1%) of the participants with mixed dentition reported that their oral health was excellent or very good. In the unadjusted model, untreated decayed teeth, dmft score and body dissatisfaction levels had a significant contribution to poor self-perception of oral health, but after adjustment for gender, BMI status, dmft score, DMFT score and DAI score, only untreated decayed teeth OR = 1.293, 95%CI (1.120–1.492) and higher body dissatisfaction levels had a significant contribution.
It was concluded that the need for dental treatment influenced self-perception of oral health in prepubertal children with mixed dentition, especially with relation to untreated decayed teeth. Since only body dissatisfaction levels, but not BMI, were related to poor self-perception of oral health, which involves a psychological component, further studies should evaluate the risk factors of body dissatisfaction, in order to plan health care directed to this age group, and with the purpose to positive parenting strategies.