Periodontal Status and Oral Health Related Behaviour in Latvian Adolescents, 2023

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Aims: To assess the periodontal status of 12- and 15-year-old children in Latvia.
Methods: This cross-sectional, nationally representative study of 12 – 15-year-old Latvian children took place between September 2022 and May 2023. It involved multi-stage cluster sampling of 1600 pupils each from sixth and ninth grades in general education schools, excluding special needs institutions. Ten calibrated dentists (kappa >0.7) performed a periodontal examination and assessed Basic Periodontal Examination (BPE) and visible plaque scores. Demographic information and oral health-related habits were recorded. Descriptive data analysis was performed. Ethics approval for the study was given by Riga Stradins University’s Research Ethics Committee.
Results: The study involved 3,129 children (response rate 60%), with 1,557 aged 12 and 1,572 aged 15 years , 48% female and 52% male. The BPE periodontal assessment showed that 857 (27.4%) of the children had healthy a periodontium (28.0% in 12-year-olds and 26.0%in- 15-year-olds) and 2269 (72.5%) showed signs of gingivitis. Bleeding gingiva were found in 1171 (37.4%) and supragingival calculus in 1098 (35.1%). Only 3 (0.04%) of children showed signs of periodontitis with pockets 4-5 mm in 2 and pockets ≥ 6 mm in one. Less than half (37.9%) of the 12-year-olds 51.3% of the 15-year-olds) reported brushing their teeth twice daily; 46.5% of children had visible plaque (49.8% of 12-tear-olds and 41.5% of 15-year-olds); smoking was rare in 12-year olds (0.9%), but more prevalent in 15-year olds (12.4%; p<0.001).
Conclusions: The concerningly high prevalence of periodontal symptoms, together with disease-related oral health behaviour in 12 and 15-year-old children in Latvia, indicates that preventive measures and oral health education initiatives must begin at an early stage. New strategies are urgently needed, through collaboration between oral health professionals, schools, parents, public authorities and policymakers.
Acknowledgements: The project was financed by The Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, contract No SPKC2020/15. IM and SEU received financial support from The Latvian Council of Science, project No lzp-2022/1-0047, "IEVA Project." SEU received financial support from the European Union's Horizon 2020, No 857287 for the BBCE.
Period14 Sept 202316 Sept 2023
Event title27th Congress of the European Association of Dental Public Health: Sustainability in Dentistry - a multifaceted approach
Event typeCongress
Conference number27
LocationRiga, LatviaShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Basic periodontal examination
  • Adolescents
  • Epidemiology
  • Latvia