Department of Dental Hygiene, Shin-han University1
Objectives: This study examined the relationship between oral health symptoms and Internet usage of Korean adolescents for the purpose of identifying problems associated with Internet usage of adolescents and of preparing measures that can raise awareness on the importance of their oral health management. Methods: The data used in this study is from the 2015 Youth Health Behavior Online Survey (YHBOS). Data from all survey participants (n=68,043) were used in the final analysis, using SPSS Ver. 22.0. General linear models were constructed to analyze the relationship between oral health symptoms and Internet usage of adolescents. Results: In the relationship between Internet usage and oral disease symptoms, those who brush less than once a day during weekdays and weekend tended to use Internet at the highest levels: 72.5%, 78.3% (p<0.001). The following variables were found to be related with spending longer time at Internet: male students (p<0.001), students in lower grades (p<0.001), students with lower performance (p<0.001), and those from families of lower economic level (p<0.001). Moreover, those who brush their teeth less than once a day and those who experienced oral disease symptoms, such as pain during chewing, throbbing and shooting pain, and bad breath in the past year spent longer time at Internet. Conclusions: The above findings show that Internet usage and demographic characteristics of the adolescents are associated with their oral health management. Therefore, guidance and interventions are needed for adolescents with problematic Internet use, while continued education is also needed to raise awareness about the importance of oral health management during adolescence.