School absence due to toothache associated with sociodemographic factors, dental caries status, and oral health-related quality of life in 12- and 15-year-old Thai children

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Abstract

Objectives:

The objective of this study is to assess prevalence and extent of school absence due to toothache, dental caries, and Oral Health-Related Quality of Life (OHRQoL) in a subsample of the Thailand national oral health survey. In addition, associations of school absence as the outcome variable with explanatory behavioral and sociodemographic variables, dental caries, and OHRQoL were investigated.

Methods:

Study sample was half of the Sixth Thailand National Oral Health Survey sample (1,063 12-year-old and 811 15-year-old children). Children were orally examined and interviewed about OHRQoL using the Child Oral Impacts on Daily Performances or the Oral Impacts on Daily Performances indices. Children completed a sociodemographic and behavioral questionnaire on school absence due to toothache in current semester.

Results:

Over a 3-month period, 5.1 percent of 12- and 4.4 percent of 15-year-olds absented themselves from school due to toothache. The number of days absent in 12-year-olds was significantly higher than in 15-year-olds. For 12-year-olds, OHRQoL and toothache were significantly associated with school absence. Severe dental decay was the main dental factor related to school absence but not significantly associated with school absence in the adjusted analyses. Children in lower school grades and those who received dental treatment in current semester were more likely to miss school compared with their counterparts.

Conclusions:

About one in 20 of Thai school-aged children reported missing school due to toothache. School absence due to toothache was inversely associated with the current year of study and positively with recently receiving dental treatment and with OHRQoL and toothache in 12-year-olds.

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