Objectives: To describe oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) among New Zealand adults and assess the relationship between clinical measures of oral health status and a well-established OHRQoL measure, controlling for sex, socioeconomic status (SES) and use of dental services.
Methods: A birth cohort of 924 dentate adults (participants in the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study) was systematically examined for dental caries, tooth loss, and periodontal attachment loss (CAL) at age 32 years. OHRQoL was measured using the 14-item Oral Health Impact Profile questionnaire (OHIP-14). The questionnaire also collected data on each study member's occupation, self-rated oral health and reasons for seeing a dental care provider. SES was determined from each individual's occupation at age 32 years.
Results: The mean total OHIP-14 score was 8.0 (SD 8.1); 23.4% of the cohort reported one or more OHIP problems 'fairly often' or 'very often'. When the prevalence of impacts 'fairly/very often' was modeled using logistic regression, having untreated caries, two or more sites with CAL of 4+ mm and 1 or more teeth missing by age 32 years remained significantly associated with OHRQoL, after adjusting for sex and 'episodic' dental care. Multivariate analysis using Poisson regression determined that being in the low SES group was also associated with the mean number of impacts (extent) and the rated severity of impacts.
Conclusions: OHIP-14 scores were significantly associated with clinical oral health status indicators, independently of sex and socioeconomic inequalities in oral health. The prevalence of impacts (23.4%) in the cohort was significantly greater than age- and sex-standardized estimates from Australia (18.2%) and the UK (15.9%).
Keywords: Oral Health Impact Profile; adult; dental caries; oral health; periodontal diseases; prevalence; quality of life; tooth loss.