Exploring the impact of oral diseases and disorders on quality of life of preschool children

Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 2013 Aug;41(4):327-35. doi: 10.1111/cdoe.12035. Epub 2013 Jan 21.


Objective: To assess the impact of oral health outcomes on Oral Health-Related Quality of Life (OHRQoL) in a school-based sample of Brazilian preschool children and their families.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in 1036 children aged 2-5 years attending all the public nurseries in Canoas, Brazil. Caregivers were asked to complete questionnaire on socioeconomic status and the Early Childhood Oral Health Impact Scale (ECOHIS) on their perception of the children's OHRQoL. Clinical assessment included dental caries, traumatic dental injuries (TDI) and malocclusion. Multivariable Poisson regression models with robust variance were fitted to assess covariates for the prevalence of impacts on OHRQoL following a theoretical hierarchical framework.

Results: 17.4% of the caregivers reported that their child had an impact on at least one ECOHIS item. Negative impacts were more prevalent on items related to pain, difficult drinking and eating some foods. The multivariable Poisson regression analysis showed that dental caries, TDI and malocclusion were associated with the outcome. The prevalence of having any impact on OHRQoL was almost three times higher for children with dental caries (PR 2.74 95% CI 2.02-3.72) compared to those who were caries free; and approximately 1.5 times higher for those who presented TDI (PR 1.70 95% CI 1.27-2.27) and malocclusion (PR 1.42 95% CI 1.04-1.94).

Conclusions: The findings showed that caregivers of young children with oral disease and disorders perceived that both the children and other family members had poorer quality of life. Oral health policies should be included into general health programs based on common risk approach.

Keywords: child; dental caries; malocclusion; preschool; quality of life; tooth injuries.

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dental Caries*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malocclusion*
  • Poisson Distribution
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Tooth Injuries*