Impact of untreated dental caries severity on the quality of life of preschool children and their families: a cross-sectional study
Untreated dental caries is a persistent oral problem among preschool children. Although there is vast evidence regarding the impact of dental caries on oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) in this age group, evidence on the impact of untreated caries severity is scarce. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of untreated caries severity on the OHRQoL of preschool children and their families.
A cross-sectional study was conducted with 563 individuals in the city of Goiania, Brazil. Data were collected through interviews with parents/caregivers and clinical examinations of their children. The OHRQoL was measured by the Brazilian version of the Early Childhood Oral Health Impact Scale. Untreated dental caries severity was assessed using validated indices. Other independent variables were socioeconomic, toothache prevalence, and the questionnaire respondent. Statistical analysis involved bivariate comparisons and Poisson regression analyses.
A higher prevalence of impact on OHRQoL was found among preschool children with untreated dental caries with clinical consequences (PR 1.31; 95% CI 1.01–1.70) compared to those without caries; those aged 5 years (PR 1.47; 95% CI 1.18–1.82), compared to those aged two; and those with a toothache (PR 1.54; 95% CI 1.34–1.76), compared to those without toothache. Moreover, fathers (PR 0.71; 95% CI 0.55–0.92) and other respondents (PR 0.70; 95% CI 0.52–0.96) perceived less impact on the OHRQoL in comparison to mothers.
Severe untreated dental caries with clinical consequences had a negative impact on the children’s OHRQoL, regardless of toothache and socioeconomic factors.
KeywordsQuality of life Dental caries Child Preschool
This study was supported by the following Brazilian Fostering Agency: State of Goias Research Foundation (FAPEG).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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