Objectives: To analyse dental caries-related quality of life (QoL) in adolescent (15-19-year-old) subjects in a suburban area (SA) and a downtown area (DA) of Bauru, São Paulo, Brazil, in 2009.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional, randomised study. The sample consisted of 185 and 147 adolescents from the SA and DA, respectively. The caries index used was that for decayed, missing and filled teeth (DMFT) (World Health Organization criteria). The 14-item Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP-14) was used to assess QoL. The non-parametric Mann-Whitney test, Spearman's correlation coefficient and chi-squared test were used in the statistical analysis.
Results: The DMFT index, Significant Caries (SiC) Index and percentage of caries-free students were similar (P > .05) between these populations, but findings on the Care Index differed (P < 0.05). There was a correlation between the DMFT index and OHIP-14 score in SA subjects (mean DMFT index = 3.01) in the dimensions of physical pain (r = 0.25; P < 0.01) and psychological disability (r = 0.17; P = 0.02). The DMFT index in DA subjects (mean DMFT index = 2.95) showed a correlation with functional limitation (r = 0.19; P = 0.02). The correlation in SA subjects between the caries component (mean = 1.22) of the DMFT index and OHIP-14 was significant only for the physical pain dimension (r = 0.16; P = 0.03). In DA subjects, correlations between the caries component (mean = 0.37) and all dimensions of OHIP-14 were statistically significant (P < 0.05).
Conclusions: Despite the similarities in means in the DMFT index, the SiC Index and the caries-free percentage of subjects in both localities, access to dental treatment proved to be less effective for SA adolescents. Physical pain and psychological disability were the most frequent negative manifestations of impact on QoL. The SA adolescents were more negatively affected by dental caries in terms of QoL.
© 2012 FDI World Dental Federation.