The Child Health Utility 9D (CHU9D) is a relatively new generic child health-related quality of life measure (HRQoL)—designed to be completed by children—which enables the calculation of utility values.
The aim is to investigate the use of the CHU9D Index as an outcome measure for child dental health in New Zealand.
A survey was conducted of children aged between 6 and 9 years attending for routine dental examinations in community clinics in Dunedin (New Zealand) in 2012. The CHU9D, a HRQoL, was used, along with the Child Perceptions Questionnaire (CPQ), a validated oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) measure. Socio-demographic characteristics (sex, age, ethnicity and household deprivation) were recorded. Dental therapists undertook routine clinical examinations, with charting recorded for each child for decayed, missing and filled deciduous teeth (dmft) at the d3 level.
One hundred and forty 6-to-9-year-olds (50.7% female) took part in the study (93.3% participation rate). The mean d3mft was 2.4 (SD = 2.6; range 0 to 9). Both CHU9D and CPQ detected differences in the impact of dental caries, with scores in the expected direction: children who presented with caries had higher scores (indicating poorer OHRQoL) than those who were free of apparent caries. Children with no apparent caries had a higher mean CHU9D score than those with caries (indicating better HRQoL). The difference for the CPQ was statistically significant, but for CHU9D the difference was not significant. When the two indices were compared, there was a significant difference in mean CHU9D scores by the prevalence of CPQ and subscale impacts with children experiencing no impacts having mean CHU9D scores closer to 1.0 (representing perfect health).
The CHU9D may be useful in dental research. Further exploration in samples with different caries experience is required. The use of the CHU9D in child oral health studies will enable the calculation of quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) for use in economic evaluation.
Quality of life; Health utility; Dental caries; Children
Dental caries remains the most prevalent chronic condition in children and a major contributor to poor general health. There is ample evidence of a skewed distribution of oral health, with a small proportion of children in the population bearing the majority of the burden of the disease. This minority group is comprised disproportionately of socioeconomically disadvantaged children. An in-depth longitudinal study is needed to better understand the determinants of child oral health, in order to support effective evidence-based policies and interventions in improving child oral health. The aim of the Study of Mothers’ and Infants’ Life Events Affecting Oral Health (SMILE) project is to identify and evaluate the relative importance and timing of critical factors that shape the oral health of young children and then to seek to evaluate those factors in their inter-relationship with socioeconomic influences.
This investigation will apply an observational prospective study design to a cohort of socioeconomically-diverse South Australian newborns and their mothers, intensively following these dyads as the children grow to toddler age. Mothers of newborn children will be invited to participate in the study in the early post-partum period. At enrolment, data will be collected on parental socioeconomic status, mothers’ general and dental health conditions, details of the pregnancy, infant feeding practice and parental health behaviours and practices. Data on diet and feeding practices, oral health behaviours and practices, and dental visiting patterns will be collected at 3, 6, 12 and 24 months of age. When children turn 24-30 months, the children and their mothers/primary care givers will be invited to an oral examination to record oral health status. Anthropometric assessment will also be conducted.
This prospective cohort study will examine a wide range of determinants influencing child oral health and related general conditions such as overweight. It will lead to the evaluation of the inter-relationship among main influences and their relative effect on child oral health. The study findings will provide high level evidence of pathways through which socio-environmental factors impact child oral health. It will also provide an opportunity to examine the relationship between oral health and childhood overweight.
Children; Early childhood caries; Socioeconomic inequality; Prospective cohort study
Tobacco smoking is a recognized behavioral risk factor for periodontal disease (through its systemic effects), and cannabis smoking may contribute in a similar way.
To determine whether cannabis smoking is a risk factor for periodontal disease.
Design and Setting
Prospective cohort study of the general population, with cannabis use determined at ages 18, 21, 26, and 32 years and dental examinations conducted at ages 26 and 32 years. The most recent data collection (at age 32 years) was completed in June 2005.
A complete birth cohort born in 1972 and 1973 in Dunedin, New Zealand, and assessed periodically (with a 96% follow-up rate of the 1015 participants who survived to age 32 years). Complete data for this analysis were available from 903 participants (comprising 89.0% of the surviving birth cohort).
Main Outcome Measure
Periodontal disease status at age 32 years (and changes from ages 26 to 32 years) determined from periodontal combined attachment loss (CAL) measured at 3 sites per tooth.
Three cannabis exposure groups were determined: no exposure (293 individuals, or 32.3%), some exposure (428; 47.4%), and high exposure (182; 20.2%). At age 32 years, 265 participants (29.3%) had 1 or more sites with 4 mm or greater CAL, and 111 participants (12.3%) had 1 or more sites with 5 mm or greater CAL. Incident attachment loss between the ages of 26 and 32 years in the none, some, and high cannabis exposure groups was 6.5%, 11.2%, and 23.6%, respectively. After controlling for tobacco smoking (measured in pack-years), sex, irregular use of dental services, and dental plaque, the relative risk estimates for the highest cannabis exposure group were as follows: 1.6 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2–2.2) for having 1 or more sites with 4 mm or greater CAL; 3.1 (95% CI, 1.5–6.4) for having 1 or more sites with 5 mm or greater CAL; and 2.2 (95% CI, 1.2–3.9) for having incident attachment loss (in comparison with those who had never smoked cannabis). Tobacco smoking was strongly associated with periodontal disease experience, but there was no interaction between cannabis use and tobacco smoking in predicting the condition’s occurrence.
Cannabis smoking may be a risk factor for periodontal disease that is independent of the use of tobacco.
Information is lacking on the natural history of periodontitis through the third and fourth decades of life.
Periodontal examinations were conducted at 26 and 32 years of age in a longstanding prospective study of a birth cohort born in Dunedin, New Zealand, in 1972 and 1973. At each age, gingival recession (GR) and probing depth (PD) were recorded at three sites per tooth using a diagonal half-mouth design (measurements were made in all four quadrants at 32 years of age, but longitudinal comparisons were made using only the half-mouth data).
A total of 882 individuals were examined at both ages. The mean number of measured sites fell between 26 and 32 years of age. The overall prevalence of one or more sites with ≥4 mm combined attachment loss (CAL) rose from 18.6% to 21.8%, whereas there were greater increases in the proportion with two or more sites with ≥4 mm CAL (from 8.0% to 12.6%) and one or more sites with ≥5 mm CAL (from 3.6% to 8.0%). The extent and severity of CAL also increased. A total of 403 individuals (45.7%) had an increase in CAL ≥2 mm at one or more sites, whereas 110 (12.5%) had a CAL increase ≥3 mm at one or more sites. Seen in ~4% of sites, negative GR (i.e., gingival enlargement) had a substantial effect on PD-based estimates. An increase in PD ≥2 mm at one or more sites was experienced by 345 individuals (39.1%), whereas 88 people (10.0%) had an increase in PD ≥3 mm at one or more sites. The greatest mean attachment loss was experienced at disto-lingual sites on molars, and most manifested as PD increases. Notable increases in GR were seen with lower incisors and canines.
Periodontal loss of attachment continues among a sizable proportion of people from the third to the fourth decade of life; however, contrary to patterns in older adults, changes in the PD component are greater than the changes in the recession component. Incident attachment loss is most frequently observed at proximal sites on posterior teeth.
Adults; cohort study; incidence; periodontal attachment loss
Maaori are the Indigenous people of New Zealand and do not enjoy the same oral health status as the non-Indigenous majority. To overcome oral health disparities, the life course approach affords a valid foundation on which to develop a process that will contribute to the protection of the oral health of young infants. The key to this process is the support that could be provided to the parents or care givers of Maaori infants during the pregnancy of the mother and the early years of the child. This study seeks to determine whether implementing a kaupapa Maaori (Maaori philosophical viewpoint) in an early childhood caries (ECC) intervention reduces dental disease burden among Maaori children. The intervention consists of four approaches to prevent early childhood caries: dental care provided during pregnancy, fluoride varnish application to the teeth of children, motivational interviewing, and anticipatory guidance.
The participants are Maaori women who are expecting a child and who reside within the Maaori tribal area of Waikato-Tainui.
This randomised-control trial will be undertaken utilising the principles of kaupapa Maaori research, which encompasses Maaori leadership, Maaori relationships, Maaori customary practices, etiquette and protocol. Participants will be monitored through clinical and self-reported information collected throughout the ECC intervention. Self-report information will be collected in a baseline questionnaire during pregnancy and when children are aged 24 and 36 months. Clinical oral health data will be collected during standardised examinations at ages 24 and 36 months by calibrated dental professionals. All participants receive the ECC intervention benefits, with the intervention delayed by 24 months for participants who are randomised to the control-delayed arm.
The development and evaluation of oral health interventions may produce evidence that supports the application of the principles of kaupapa Maaori research in the research processes. This study will assess an ECC intervention which could provide a meaningful approach for Maaori for the protection and maintenance of oral health for Maaori children and their family, thus reducing oral health disparities.
Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trials Register (ANZCTR): ACTRN12611000111976.
Indigenous; Māori; Child; Mother; Oral health; Early childhood caries
Research into social inequalities in health has tended to focus on low socioeconomic status in adulthood. We aimed to test the hypothesis that children’s experience of socioeconomic disadvantage is associated with a wide range of health risk factors and outcomes in adult life.
We studied an unselected cohort of 1000 children (born in New Zealand during 1972–73) who had been assessed at birth and ages 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, and 15 years. At age 26 years, we assessed these individuals for health outcomes including body-mass index, waist:hip ratio, blood pressure, cardiorespiratory fitness, dental caries, plaque scores, gingival bleeding, periodontal disease, major depression, and tobacco and alcohol dependence, and tested for associations between these variables and childhood and adult socioeconomic status.
Compared with those from high socioeconomic status backgrounds, children who grew up in low socioeconomic status families had poorer cardiovascular health. Significant differences were also found on all dental health measures, with a threefold increase in adult periodontal disease (31·1% vs 11·9%) and caries level (32·2% vs 9·9%) in low versus high childhood socioeconomic status groups. Substance abuse resulting in clinical dependence was related in a similar way to childhood socioeconomic status (eg, 21·5% vs 12·1% for adult alcohol dependence). The longitudinal associations could not be attributed to life-course continuity of low socioeconomic status, and upward mobility did not mitigate or reverse the adverse effects of low childhood socioeconomic status on adult health.
Protecting children against the effects of socioeconomic adversity could reduce the burden of disease experienced by adults. These findings provide strong impetus for policy makers, practitioners, and researchers to direct energy and resources towards childhood as a way of improving population health.
We investigated age-26 personality characteristics and age-32 oral health in a prospective study of a complete birth cohort born in Dunedin, New Zealand. Personality was measured using the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire (MPQ). Oral health was measured using the short-form Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP-14), a global measure, and dental examinations. Personality profiles were constructed for 916 individuals (50.8% men) using standardized MPQ scores, and multivariate analyses examined their association with oral health. Those reporting 1+ OHIP-14 impacts had higher Negative Emotionality scores (and lower Constraint and Positive Emotionality MPQ superfactor scores) than those who did not. After controlling for gender, clinical status, and the other two MPQ superfactors, those scoring higher on Negative Emotionality had a greater risk of reporting 1+ OHIP-14 impacts, as well as 3+ OHIP-14 impacts and worse-than-average oral health. They also had a greater risk of having lost at least one tooth from caries and of having 3+ decayed surfaces. Personality characteristics appear to shape self-reports of oral health. Personality is also a risk factor for clinical disease status, at least with respect to dental caries and its sequelae. Because the attitudes and values tapped into by personality tests can be altered by brief cognitive interventions, those might be useful in preventive dentistry.
cohort studies; oral health; personality; psychology; social
In dentistry, measures of oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) provide essential information for assessing treatment needs, making clinical decisions and evaluating interventions, services and programmes. The two most common measures used to examine child OHRQoL today are the Child Perceptions Questionnaire at two ages, 8–10 and 11–14 (CPQ8-10, CPQ11-14). The reliability and validity of these two versions have been demonstrated together with that (more recently) of the short-form 16-item impact version of the CPQ11-14. This study set out to examine the reliability and validity of the Child Oral Health Quality of Life Questionnaires (COHQOL) instruments the CPQ8-10 and impact short-form CPQ11-14 in 5-to-8-year-old New Zealand children, and to determine whether a single measure for children aged 5–14 is feasible.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted of 5-to-8-year-old children attending for dental treatment in community clinics in 2011. Children were examined for dental caries, with OHRQoL measured using the CPQ8-10 and short-form CPQ11-14. Construct validity was evaluated by comparing mean scale scores across ordinal categories of caries experience; correlational construct validity was assessed by comparing mean CPQ scores across children’s global ratings of oral health and well-being.
The 183 children (49.7% female) aged 5 to 8 years who took part in the study represent a 98.4% participation rate. The overall mean dmft was 6.0 (SD, 2.0 range 1 to 13). Both questionnaire versions detected differences in the impact of dental caries on quality of life, with the greatest scores in the expected direction. Both versions showed higher scores among those with poorer oral health. There was a very strong and positive correlation between CPQ11-14 scores and CPQ8-10 scores (Pearsons’s r = 0.98; P < 0.01).
The performance of both versions of the COHQOL measures (CPQ8-10 and short-form CPQ11-14) appears to be acceptable in this younger age group, and this work represents the first stage in validating this questionnaire in a younger age group. It also further confirms that younger children are capable of providing their own perceptions of oral health impacts. The acceptability of the short-from CPQ11-14 in this younger age group lends support to its use in children between ages 5 and 14.
Children; Indexes; Health status indicators; Validity
The effects of the oral health status of one generation on that of the next within families are unclear.
To determine whether parental oral health history is a risk factor for oral disease.
Oral examination and interview data were collected during the age-32 assessments in the Dunedin Study. Parental data were also collected on this occasion. The sample was divided into two familial-risk groups for caries/tooth loss (high risk and low risk) based on parents’ self-reported history of tooth loss at the age-32 assessment interview.
Main outcome measures
Probands’ dental caries and tooth loss status at age 32, together with lifelong dental caries trajectory (age 5–32).
Caries/tooth-loss risk analysis was conducted for 640 proband-parents groups. Referent groups were the low-familial-risk groups. After controlling for confounding factors (sex, episodic use of dental services, socio-economic status and plaque trajectory), the prevalence ratio (PR) for having lost 1+ teeth by age 32 for the high-familial-risk group was 1.41 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.05, 1.88) and the rate ratio for DMFS at age 32 was 1.41 (95% CI 1.24, 1.60). In the high-familial-risk group, the PR of following a high caries trajectory was 2.05 (95% CI 1.37, 3.06). Associations were strongest when information was available about both parents’ oral health. Nonetheless, when information was available for one parent only, associations were significant for some proband outcomes.
People with poor oral health tend to have parents with poor oral health. Family/parental history of oral health is a valid representation of the intricacies of the shared genetic and environmental factors that contribute to an individual’s oral health status. Associations were strongest when data from both parents can be obtained.
oral health; family history; intergenerational; risk
To determine whether parental periodontal disease history is a risk factor for periodontal disease in adult offspring.
Proband periodontal examination (combined attachment loss (CAL) at age 32, and incidence of CAL from ages 26–32) and interview data were collected during the age-32 assessments in the Dunedin Study. Parental data were also collected. The sample was divided into two familial-risk groups for periodontal disease (high- and low-risk) based on parents’ self-reported periodontal disease.
Periodontal risk analysis involved 625 proband-parent(s) groups. After controlling for confounding factors, the high-familial-risk periodontal group was more likely to have 1+ sites with 4+mm CAL (RR 1.45; 95% CI 1.11–1.88), 2+ sites with 4+mm CAL (RR 1.45; 95% CI 1.03–2.05), 1+ sites with 5+mm CAL (RR 1.60; 95% CI 1.02–2.50) and 1+ sites with 3+mm incident CAL (RR 1.64; 95% CI 1.01–2.66) than the low-familial-risk group. Predictive validity was enhanced when information was available from both parents.
Parents with poor periodontal health tend to have offspring with poor periodontal health. Family/parental history of oral health is a valid representation of the shared genetic and environmental factors that contribute to an individual’s periodontal status, and may help predict patient prognosis and preventive treatment need.
periodontal; intergenerational; risk; family history
Life course research considers not only the influences on health which act during the lifespan but it is also concerned with factors that act across generations. Rarely are genetics or environment solely responsible for producing individual variation; virtually all characteristics are the result of gene–environment interaction. An increasing interest in life course research and gene–environment interactions is reflected in greater awareness of the role of family history and intergenerational continuity in oral health as a practical, inexpensive approach to categorizing genetic risk for many common, preventable disorders of adulthood (including oral disease). Does the health status of one generation have an effect on that of the next? While researchers in recent years have begun to investigate the inter-generational associations between exposures and disease, little research has been carried out (to date) on the long-term biological, behavioural, psychological, social and environmental mechanisms that link oral health and oral disease risk to exposures acting across generations. This narrative review identifies studies which have contributed to highlighting some of the intergenerational factors influencing oral health. However, there is a need for a wider perspective on intergenerational continuity in oral health, along with a careful evaluation of the factors which contribute to the effect. A comprehensive investigation into the nature and extent of intergenerational transmission of oral health is required.
gene-environment interaction; intergenerational; life course; oral health
A parental/family history of poor oral health may influence the oral-health-related quality of life (OHRQOL) of adults.
To determine whether the oral health of mothers of young children can predict the OHRQOL of those same children when they reach adulthood.
Oral examination and interview data from the Dunedin Study's age-32 assessment, as well as maternal self-rated oral health data from the age-5 assessment were used. The main outcome measure was study members' short-form Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP-14) at age 32. Analyses involved 827 individuals (81.5% of the surviving cohort) dentally examined at both ages, who also completed the OHIP-14 questionnaire at age 32, and whose mothers were interviewed at the age-5 assessment.
There was a consistent gradient of relative risk across the categories of maternal self-rated oral health status at the age-5 assessment for having one or more impacts in the overall OHIP-14 scale, whereby risk was greatest among the study members whose mothers rated their oral health as "poor/edentulous", and lowest among those with an "excellent/fairly good" rating. In addition, there was a gradient in the age-32 mean OHIP-14 score, and in the mean number of OHIP-14 impacts at age 32 across the categories of maternal self-rated oral health status. The higher risk of having one or more impacts in the psychological discomfort subscale, when mother rated her oral health as "poor/edentulous", was statistically significant.
These data suggest that maternal self-rated oral health when a child is young has a bearing on that child's OHRQOL almost three decades later. The adult offspring of mothers with poor self-rated oral health had poorer OHRQOL outcomes, particularly in the psychological discomfort subscale.
oral health; oral health-related quality of life: OHIP-14; intergenerational; risk; family history
The Child Perception Questionnaire (CPQ11-14) is a self-report instrument developed to measure oral-health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) in 11-14-year-olds. Earlier reports confirm that the 16-item short-form version performs adequately, but there is a need to determine the measure's validity and properties in larger and more diverse samples and settings.
The objective of this study was to examine the performance of the 16-item short-form impact version of the CPQ11-14 in different communities and cultures with diverse caries experience.
Cross-sectional epidemiological surveys of child oral health were conducted in two regions of New Zealand, one region in Brunei, and one in Brazil. Children were examined for dental caries (following WHO guidelines), and OHRQoL was measured using the 16-item short-form item-impact version of the CPQ11-14, along with two global questions on OHRQoL. Children in the 20% with the greatest caries experience (DMF score) were categorised as the highest caries quintile. Construct validity was evaluated by comparing the mean scale scores across the categories of caries experience; correlational construct validity was assessed by comparing mean scores and children's global ratings of oral health and well-being.
There were substantial variations in caries experience among the different communities (from 1.8 in Otago to 4.9 in Northland) and in mean CPQ11-14 scores (from 11.5 in Northland to 16.8 in Brunei). In all samples, those in the most severe caries experience quintile had higher mean CPQ11-14 scores than those who were caries-free (P < 0.05). There were also greater CPQ scores in those with worse self-rated oral health, with the Otago sample presenting the most marked gradient across the response categories for self-rated oral health, from 'Excellent' to 'Fair/Poor' (9.6 to 19.7 respectively).
The findings suggest that the 16-item short-form item impact version of the CPQ11-14 performs well across diverse cultures and levels of caries experience. Reasons for the differences in mean CPQ scores among the communities are unclear and may reflect subtle socio-cultural differences in subjective oral health among these populations, but elucidating these requires further exploration of the face and content validity of the measure in different populations.
Adolescents; caries experience; quality of life; validity; short-form CPQ11-14
To describe oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) among New Zealand adults and assess the relationship between clinical measures of oral health status and a well-established OHRQoL measure, controlling for sex, socioeconomic status (SES) and use of dental services.
A birth cohort of 924 dentate adults (participants in the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study) was systematically examined for dental caries, tooth loss, and periodontal attachment loss (CAL) at age 32 years. OHRQoL was measured using the 14-item Oral Health Impact Profile questionnaire (OHIP-14). The questionnaire also collected data on each study member’s occupation, self-rated oral health and reasons for seeing a dental care provider. SES was determined from each individual’s occupation at age 32 years.
The mean total OHIP-14 score was 8.0 (SD 8.1); 23.4% of the cohort reported one or more OHIP problems ‘fairly often’ or ‘very often’. When the prevalence of impacts ‘fairly/very often’ was modeled using logistic regression, having untreated caries, two or more sites with CAL of 4+ mm and 1 or more teeth missing by age 32 years remained significantly associated with OHRQoL, after adjusting for sex and ‘episodic’ dental care. Multivariate analysis using Poisson regression determined that being in the low SES group was also associated with the mean number of impacts (extent) and the rated severity of impacts.
OHIP-14 scores were significantly associated with clinical oral health status indicators, independently of sex and socioeconomic inequalities in oral health. The prevalence of impacts (23.4%) in the cohort was significantly greater than age- and sex-standardized estimates from Australia (18.2%) and the UK (15.9%).
adult; dental caries; oral health; Oral Health Impact Profile; periodontal diseases; prevalence; quality of life; tooth loss
Smoking is recognized as the primary behavioural risk factor for periodontal attachment loss (AL), but confirmatory data from prospective cohort studies are scarce.
To quantify the association between cigarette smoking patterns and AL by age 32.
Periodontal examinations were conducted at ages 26 and 32 in a longstanding prospective study of a birth cohort born in Dunedin (New Zealand) in 1972/1973. Longitudinal categorization of smoking exposure was undertaken using data collected at ages 15, 18, 21, 26 and 32.
Complete data were available for 810 individuals of whom 48.9% had ever smoked (31.5% were current smokers). Compared with never-smokers, long-term smokers (and other age-32 smokers) had very high odds ratios (ORs of 7.1 and 5.7, respectively) for having 1 +sites with 5 +mm AL, and were more likely to be incident cases after age 26 (ORs of 5.2 and 3.2, respectively). Two-thirds of new cases after age 26 were attributable to smoking. There were no significant differences in periodontal health between never-smokers and those who had quit smoking after age 26.
Current and long-term smoking in young adults is detrimental to periodontal health, but smoking cessation may be associated with a relatively rapid improvement in the periodontium.
cohort study; periodontal disease; smoking; tobacco
Dental caries and restorations in proximal tooth surfaces often impinge upon the periodontal biological width.
This study examines whether these factors may contribute to risk for periodontal attachment loss at these sites.
The study is based upon data from the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, a long-standing cohort study. Approximal tooth surfaces of 884 study members were evaluated for restorations and caries at age 26 and again at 32 years, and probing depth and gingival recession were recorded in millimetres at age 32. Attachment loss was computed as the sum of pocket depth and gingival recession. Data were analysed using generalized estimating equations.
Where a caries/restorative event had occurred on an inter-proximal tooth surface before age 26, the age-32 attachment loss at the corresponding periodontal site was approximately twice more likely to be ≥3 mm than if the adjacent tooth surface had remained sound to age 32. This was also true where a caries/restorative event had occurred subsequent to age 26. The association remained after controlling for potential confounders, including smoking.
Site-specific periodontal attachment loss due to dental caries or restorative events occurs in adults in their third and fourth decades of life.
biological width; caries; cohort study; longitudinal study; periodontal attachment loss; periodontal disease
Recent research has suggested that chronic dry mouth affects the day-to-day lives of older people living in institutions. The condition has usually been considered to be a feature of old age, but recent work by our team produced the somewhat surprising finding that 10% of people in their early thirties are affected. This raises the issue of whether dry mouth is a trivial condition or a more substantial threat to quality of life among younger people. The objective of this study was to examine the association between xerostomia and oral-health-related quality of life among young adults while controlling for clinical oral health status and other potential confounding factors.
Cross-sectional analysis of data from a longstanding prospective observational study of a Dunedin (New Zealand) birth cohort: clinical dental examinations and questionnaires were used at age 32. The main measures were xerostomia (the subjective feeling of dry mouth, measured with a single question) and oral-health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) measured using the short-form Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP-14).
Of the 923 participants (48.9% female), one in ten were categorised as 'xerostomic', with no apparent gender difference. There was a strong association between xerostomia and OHRQoL (across all OHIP-14 domains) which persisted after multivariate analysis to control for clinical characteristics, gender, smoking status and personality characteristics (negative emotionality and positive emotionality).
Xerostomia is not a trivial condition; it appears to have marked and consistent effects on sufferers' day-to-day lives.