• adolescents;
  • oral health;
  • self-rated;
  • survey

Abstract –  Objective:  The objective of this study is to investigate the main social, psychosocial and clinical factors associated with poor self-rated oral health in adolescents.

Methods:  A cross-sectional survey was carried out in two cities of the Distrito Federal, Brazil. Data were collected by clinical examinations and by self-administered questionnaires from 1302 adolescents aged 14- 15 years in 39 schools. Data analysis was carried out using a Poisson regression model taking into account the cluster sample.

Results:  Adjusting for social, psychosocial and clinical factors, results showed that poor self-rated oral health was significantly associated (P < 0.001) with sex (males) [prevalence ratio (PR) = 0.8, 95% confidence interval (95% CI): 0.7–0.9]; low social class (PR =1.4, 95% CI: 1.2–1.6); poor self-rated general health (PR = 2.6, 95% CI: 2.3–3.1); mouth appearance (PR = 1.9, 95% CI: 1.6–2.2) and with presence of untreated dental decay (PR = 1.4, 95% CI: 1.3–1.6).

Conclusions:  The single question on self-rated oral health appears to be a simple and easy way to collect dental health information in adolescents. Assessment and understanding of self-rated oral health should take into account social, psychosocial and oral factors.