• children;
  • clinical oral health status;
  • quality of life;
  • systematic review

Abstract:  Objective:  Children are affected by numerous oral and orofacial disorders, which have the potential to compromise functioning, well-being and the quality of life (QoL). The purpose of this paper was to review the literature about children’s clinical oral health status and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and to assess the respective association.

Materials and methods:  The authors searched Medline, ISI, Lilacs and Scielo for articles from 1985 to 2007. The inclusion criteria were randomized, cross-sectional, longitudinal or retrospective studies that used well-validated oral health-related QoL instruments, children self-applied questionnaires and quantitative measurements of clinical oral health status.

Results:  Of the 402 articles that were critically assessed, 12 studies were included in the critical appraisal of the project.

Conclusions:  There is a relationship between clinical oral health status and HRQoL in children. In the studies that suggested weak relationships between children’s oral conditions and HRQoL, the explanations were low disease levels in the sample, the conditions under investigation may have caused immeasurably low levels of impact or the impacts were mediated by inter- and intravariables according to culture and education. Moreover, relationships between biological or clinical variables and HRQoL outcomes are not direct, but mediated by a variety or personal, social and environmental variables, as well as by the child development, which have influence on the comprehension about the relationship among health, illness and QoL. So, longitudinal studies are necessary to determine validity, responsiveness and minimal clinically important difference.