Oral health-related quality of life, fluorosis and caries among children

Objective: To evaluate oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) of children by caries and fluorosis status.

Methods: A random sample of South Australian 8-13-yo children were selected. Caries data was collected from school dental service records. Children were examined for fluorosis using the TF Index to form groups by fluorosis scores on maxillary central incisors. Occlusion was recorded using Dental Aesthetic Index. Children and their parents completed child perception (CPQ) and parental perception questionnaires (PPQ) and a global rating of oral health (OH). OHRQoL indicators, perception of good OH: rating OH as excellent/very good, and mean overall CPQ/PPQ scores, were compared between groups by fluorosis scores and caries experience. Multivariate models were generated for OHRQoL indicators.

Results: Overall, 246 (42.3%) had 0-1 DMFS/dmfs, 261 (33.8%) had 1-4 DMFS/dmfs while 170 (23.9%) had 5+ DMFS/dmfs. Some 145 children (25.9%) had fluorosis. TF score of 1, 2 and 3 were 14.5%, 9.5% and 1.9% respectively. Proportions of children/parents perceiving good OH significantly decreased as child’s caries experience increased. Those proportions increased when fluorosis severity increased from a TF score of 0 to 2 but decreased with a TF of 3. Groups with low caries experience had lower mean overall CPQ/PPQ scores (better OHRQoL). Low caries experience and more acceptable occlusion were significant factors for parent’s perception of good OH, adjusting for age, sex, residency and income. Having mild fluorosis and more acceptable occlusion were significant factors for children’s perception of good OH. Caries and malocclusion were associated with lower OHRQoL while having TF score of 1 and age were associated with better OHRQoL in multivariate models for overall CPQ/PPQ scores.

Conclusion: Caries and malocclusion showed negative impact on child and parental OHRQoL indicators while mild fluorosis had a positive impact. Supported by NHMRC, ADRF and University of Adelaide.

L Do*, AJ Spencer

Presented at the 84th General Session and Exhibition of the IADR, 28 June – 1 July 2006, Brisbane Australia

Note: * indicates presenter

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