Impact of Early Childhood Caries on the Oral Health-Related Quality of Life of Preschool Children and Their Parents

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Abstract

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, χ2 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

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