The theory of social capital seeks to explain social inequality in health through the interaction of social, economic and environmental factors and has been associated with many health problems, though there is still little research in the area of oral health. The scope of this study was to evaluate the association between social capital and socio-demographic and behavioral factors related to oral health among schoolchildren aged from 15 to 19. A random sample of 1,417 adolescents filled out a self-administered survey and the data were descriptively analyzed (simple frequencies, central tendency and variability measurement) and inferential statistics (Pearson's chi-square test). The results showed that the social capital which is more prevalent among adolescents was intermediate level, as well as between each of its dimensions, except for social action where the majority were classified as lower-leveled. Among the variables analyzed, social capital was statistically associated only with sex, with women being more likely to be classified under the 'low social capital' label. This area still needs considerable research to increase theoretical-conceptual and methodological maturity in order to better understand the social contexts that are essential for formulating effective public health policies.
Social organization; Dentistry; Adolescent; Epidemiology