Objective: To identify adolescents’ self-perception of dental fluorosis from two areas with different socioeconomic levels.
Methods: A cross-sectional, descriptive study was conducted with 15-year-old youths by applying a questionnaire designed and validated to assess self-perceptions of dental fluorosis in two areas with different socioeconomic statuses (SESs). Fluorosis was clinically evaluated by applying the Thylstrup and Fejerkov (TF) index on the upper front teeth.
Results: A total of 308 adolescents were included in the study. The medium-SES population, which was exposed to 2.5 ppm of fluoride in water, and the low-SES population, which was exposed to 5.1 ppm, presented the following levels of dental fluorosis: TF 2-3 (50%), TF 4-5 (45.6%) and TF 6-7 (4.4%) for medium SES and TF 2-3 (12.3%), TF 4-5 (67.1%) and TF 67 (20.6%) for low SES. A significant association was found between self-perception and dental fluorosis in those with medium and low SESs (p < 0.05). The multiple regression model found differences between TF levels and self-perception, with a 6-7 TF level for concerns about color (OR = 1.6), smile (OR = 1.2) and appearance (OR = 3.36).
Conclusions: Self-perceptions of dental fluorosis affect adolescents such that adolescents with a medium SES have more negative perceptions than those with a low SES. Such perceptions increase as the TF index increases.