Tooth wear and quality of life among adults in the United Kingdom

J Dent. 2016 Dec;55:48-53. doi: 10.1016/j.jdent.2016.09.013. Epub 2016 Sep 28.


Objective: To explore the association between tooth wear and quality of life among adults in the United Kingdom, independently of sociodemographic factors and other common oral conditions.

Methods: We used data from 5654 dentate adults who participated in the 2009 Adult Dental Health Survey. Tooth wear was assessed during clinical examination and classified as none, mild, moderate and severe based on the worst affected tooth recorded. The numbers of teeth with mild, moderate and severe tooth wear were used as alternative measures. Oral impacts on quality of life were measured using the short form of the Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP-14). The associations between tooth wear measures and OHIP-14 total and domain scores were tested in negative binomial regression models adjusting for sociodemographic and clinical factors.

Results: Overall, 62% of participants had mild, 13% moderate and 2% severe tooth wear. Adults with severe tooth wear had a crude OHIP-14 total score higher than those without tooth wear (Rate Ratio: 1.90; 95% Confidence Interval: 1.32-2.75). This association was attenuated after adjustment for confounders, particularly for other oral conditions (1.25; 95% CI: 0.90-1.73). Moreover, adults with severe tooth wear reported higher OHIP-14 domain scores in psychological discomfort (1.15; 95% CI: 1.06-1.25) and psychological disability (1.18; 95% CI: 1.10-1.30) than those without such condition. There was also evidence of a dose-response relationship; with higher OHIP-14 domain scores according to the number of teeth with severe tooth wear.

Conclusion: This nationwide study among UK adults shows that severe tooth wear was negatively associated with psychological impacts on people's life.

Clinical significance: Dentist should consider not only the patients' clinical characteristics, but also their impacts on quality of life and provide preventive or restorative management accordingly.

Keywords: Adult; Public health dentistry; Quality of life; Tooth wear.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dental Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Oral Health
  • Quality of Life
  • Tooth Wear*
  • United Kingdom