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Keywords:

  • Indigenous;
  • oral health-related quality of life;
  • risk indicators

Abstract

Background:  There is limited information on the impact of poor oral health on Indigenous Australian quality of life. This study aimed to determine the prevalence, extent and severity of, and to calculate risk indicators for, poor oral health-related quality of life among a convenience sample of rural-dwelling Indigenous Australians.

Methods:  Participants (n = 468) completed a questionnaire that included socio-demographic, lifestyle, dental service utilization, dental self-care and oral health-related quality of life (OHIP-14) factors.

Results:  The prevalence of having experienced one or more of OHIP-14 items ‘fairly often’ or ‘very often’ was 34.8%. The extent of OHIP-14 scores was 1.88, while the severity was 15.0. Risk indicators for having experienced one or more of OHIP-14 items ‘fairly often’ or ‘very often’ included problem-based dental attendance, avoiding dental care because of cost, difficulty paying a $100 dental bill and non-ownership of a toothbrush. An additional risk indicator for OHIP-14 extent was healthcare card ownership, while additional indicators for OHIP-14 severity were healthcare card ownership and having had 5+ teeth extracted.

Conclusions:  Risk indicators for poor oral health-related quality of life among this marginalized population included socio-economic factors, dentate status factors, dental service utilization patterns, financial factors and dental self-care factors.