Background: Several models have been proposed to explain the causes of periodontal diseases. None have adopted the life-course approach.
Objective: To investigate the relationship between social, psychosocial and biological conditions experienced in early life and through the life course and gingival bleeding on probing.
Methods: A two-phase study was carried out in Brazil. In Phase I, 652 13-year-olds were clinically examined and interviewed. In Phase II, 311 families were randomly selected for an interview to collect information on the teenager's state at birth and selected impacts in their early years of life. Clinical examination included assessment of dental caries, periodontal and dental trauma status. The data analysis used logistic regression and the models were determined using stepwise procedure.
Findings: Adolescents who were born in a non-brick house, who were living in an overcrowded house at 13 years of age, those whose mother had less than 8 years of education, who were at a lower school grade for their age, those who reported high levels of paternal punishment and those who were from reconstituted families were significantly more likely to experience high levels of bleeding gums after probing.
Conclusion: Early life and life-course experiences were important determinants of the level of gingival bleeding after probing in adolescents.