Oral health-related quality of life in Norwegian adults
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The general aim of this thesis was to describe oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) in adults in the county of Nord-Trøndelag and in a national representative sample of Norwegian adults. A further goal was to study whether oral-health related quality of life is associated with clinical dental health, use of dental services, oral hygiene behaviours and demographic variables.
The use of clinical measures only to assess the oral status of individuals has been criticized because such measures fail to consider functional and psychosocial aspects of health and do not adequately reflect functions, concerns and perceived needs of individuals. In addition, in dentistry there is a growing interest in assessing patients’ experiences of disease and treatment on physical, psychosocial and social functions in daily life, often labelled as oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL). Studies in this area are few in Norway.
Materials and methods
Three cross-sectional studies were conducted, one nationwide quantitative questionnaire study including a stratified representative random sample of 20 to 80 year old individuals and two combined quantitative questionnaire and clinical examination studies, based on random samples of adults in the county of Nord-Trøndelag. The questionnaires included demographic questions (age, sex and length of education), dental visits, dental hygiene habits, self-rated oral health and general health and satisfaction with oral health. OHRQoL was assessed with Oral Health Impact Profile-14 (OHIP-14) in Studies I and II and with Dental Impact Profile (DIP) in Study III. Clinical dental health was assessed with counts of the number of teeth and the number of teeth with dental carious lesions.
Oral health is of importance to most people. It is necessary for the masticatory function, but is also of great importance for psychological comfort and social relations. The majority of the participants reported at least one oral problem assessed with OHIP-14. The most frequently reported problems were physical pain, psychological discomfort and psychological disability. Most of the participants rated their oral health as good and were satisfied with their oral health. However, those who rated their oral health as very poor reported the poorest OHRQoL. The youngest individuals, individuals with few remaining teeth and those who visited the dental services on an irregular basis reported poorer OHRQoL than did other individuals. There was a relationship between the number of decayed teeth and OHRQoL in the middle-aged generation, which was not found among the elderly.
This research shows that most adults reported oral health to be important for masticatory functions and confirms that oral health also has impacts on other aspects of life. Those who practiced good dental health habits, rated their oral health as good or had many teeth present, reported their oral health to have positive effects on their quality of life.
List of papers. Papers I and II are removed from the thesis due to copyright restrictions.
Paper I: Kari Elisabeth Dahl, Nina J. Wang, Irene Skau, Kerstin Öhrn. Oral healthrelated quality of life and associated factors in Norwegian adults. Acta Odontol Scand 2011; 69;208-214 doi:10.3109/00016357.2010.549502
Paper II: Kari Elisabeth Dahl, Nina J. Wang, Dorthe Holst, Kerstin Öhrn. Oral healthrelated quality of life among adults 68 to77 years old in Nord-Trøndelag, Norway. Int J Dent Hygiene 2011; 9:87-92 doi:10.1111/j.1601-5037.2010.00445.x
Paper III: Kari Elisabeth Dahl, Nina J. Wang, Kerstin Öhrn. Does oral health matter in people`s daily life? Oral health-related quality of life in adults 35 to 47 years of age in Norway. Int J Dent Hygiene 2012; 10:15-21 doi:10.1111/j.1601-5037.2011.00533.x