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Keywords:

  • measurement;
  • oral health;
  • oral health-related quality of life;
  • quality of life

Locker D, Quiñonez C. To what extent do oral disorders compromise the quality of life? Community Dent Oral Epidemiol 2011; 39: 3–11. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S

Abstract –  Objective:  Most measures of ‘oral health-related quality of life’ assess the presence and frequency of functional and psychosocial impacts rather than explicitly documenting their impact on the quality of life. The aim of this study was to evaluate Prutkin and Feinstein’s suggestion for addressing the issue of quality of life in health outcome research by the use of global ratings.

Methods:  Data were collected from a national sample of Canadian adults by means of a telephone interview survey based on random digit dialing. Participants completed the OHIP-14. Those reporting one or more impacts in the previous year were asked three questions concerning the extent to which these impacts bothered them, affected their life as a whole, and affected their quality of life. These items were scored on a scale ranging from ‘Not at all’ to ‘A great deal’. All participants were asked to rate the quality of their life using a six-point scale ranging from ‘Very poor’ to ‘Excellent’.

Results:  Interviews were completed with 2027 participants, and 2019 were included in the analysis. Overall, 19.5% reported one or more impacts ‘fairly often’ or ‘very often’. Of these, 48.3% reported being bothered by these impacts, 40.3% that their life overall was affected, and 36.0% that their quality of life was affected. These individuals represent 9.4%, 7.8%, and 6.9% of the sample as a whole. Among those reporting impacts, there was a significant association between OHIP-14 extent and severity scores and the three ratings. Those with impacts that bothered them, that affected their life overall or affected their quality of life, rated their overall quality of life less favorably than those with impacts that did not. Analysis by household income indicated that low-income participants were more likely to be OHIP-14 ‘cases’. Moreover, among the ‘cases’, low-income participants were more likely to report an impact on the quality of life.

Conclusions:  The addition of global ratings of oral health-related quality of life and quality of life provides information of use in understanding the negative consequences of oral disorders.