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Does the ethnicity of teenage children influence oral self perception and prevalence of dental disease?


Aim: The primary aim was to evaluate the effect of ethnicity, social deprivation and oral health on oral self perceptions of 14-15-year-old Asians and Whites. A secondary aim was to assess the influence of ethnicity and social deprivation on oral treatment need in the same sample.

Design: A cross-sectional epidemiological study.

Data source: A stratified, random sample of 408 14-15-year-old Asian and White children from schools in Manchester.

Method: Information was collected on oral self perceptions using a questionnaire and on oral treatment need with a clinical examination.

Results: Multivariate data analysis revealed that oral treatment need, but not ethnicity or social deprivation, was an important predictive variable with respect to oral self perceptions. Ethnicity was the only variable to influence periodontal treatment need. Social deprivation influenced the level of untreated caries.

Conclusions: 1. Socially deprived children have higher caries levels than their more affluent counterparts and this is evident regardless of ethnic background. 2. Although Asian 14-15-year-old children have a higher periodontal treatment need than Whites, there was no ethnic influence on how they perceive their oral health. 3. Oral treatment need is an important factor with respect to oral self perceptions


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Mandall, N., McCord, J., Blinkhorn, A. et al. Does the ethnicity of teenage children influence oral self perception and prevalence of dental disease?. Br Dent J 185, 358–362 (1998).

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