To apply a self-administered assessment form about dental plaque level and gingival condition to Japanese adolescents and to examine the extent to which they can evaluate their own dental plaque and gingivae by comparing with dentists’ clinical evaluation.


Participants were 151 senior high school students (adolescents) who observed their own mouths and recorded dental plaque seen on their 12 anterior teeth, and gingival inflammation condition of 10 anterior interdental papillae, on a self-assessment form. Dentists clinically evaluated dental plaque using the, modified Debris Index (modified DI) and gingival condition, modified PMA index (P-index). “Recognition score” of dental plaque and gingival condition was the total number of agreement between the adolescents’ self-assessment and dentists’ evaluation.


Proportion of agreement on dental plaque between the adolescents’ self-assessment and dentists’ evaluation with modified DI was 37.4%, and agreement on modified DI score 1, 2 or 3 was significantly lower than that on score 0 (P<.01). Agreement on gingivae was 47.3% in total, and agreement was significantly lower on gingival condition with inflammation than gingivae without inflammation (P<.01). Recognition scores of dental plaque or gingival condition were significantly lower in adolescents with fair or poor modified DI or P-index than in those with good condition (P<.01).


Most adolescents could not recognize their dental plaque and gingival condition. Adolescents with poorer dental plaque level or gingival condition had lower recognition scores compared to those with better oral health. Improving oral health self-assessment skills could help adolescents achieve better oral health.

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