The aim of the present population study was to evaluate the impact of early childhood caries (ECC) on the oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) of preschool children and their parents/caregivers. A random sample of 638 children (aged 2-5 years) underwent a clinical oral examination to assess ECC, and their parents were invited to answer two questionnaires: one on the OHRQoL of the child, the Early Childhood Oral Health Impact Scale, and another on the characteristics and sociodemographic conditions of the child. Descriptive analysis, χ(2) test, Mann-Whitney test, Kruskal-Wallis test, and hierarchically adjusted Poisson regression models were used. The prevalence of ECC was 52.2%. The number of teeth with decay ranged from 1 (n = 42; 6.6%) to 20 (n = 5; 0.8%), averaging 2.86 (SD = 4.04). There was a significant difference between the severity of ECC and OHRQoL in terms of the impact on both child and family (p < 0.001). An increase in the severity of ECC resulted in an increased negative impact on the quality of life of the child (rate ratio, RR = 5.32; 95% confidence interval, CI: 3.67-7.71). Greater age of the mother had a positive impact on the OHRQoL of preschool children (RR = 0.72; 95% CI: 0.54-0.97). Increased age resulted in an increased negative impact on the quality of life of the child (RR = 2.97; 95% CI: 1.61-5.47). ECC has a negative impact on the OHRQoL of children aged 2-5 years and their parents. Mothers aged 30 or older reported better OHRQoL, independent of the presence of ECC and the age of the child.
Copyright © 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel.