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11-03-2019 | Uitgave 7/2019 Open Access

Quality of Life Research 7/2019

Ethnic background and children’s oral health-related quality of life

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 7/2019
A. W. van Meijeren-van Lunteren, E. B. Wolvius, H. Raat, V. W. V. Jaddoe, L. Kragt
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s11136-019-02159-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Ethnic background is known to be related to oral health and socioeconomic position (SEP). In the context of patient-centered oral health care, and the growing number of migrant children, it is important to understand the influence of ethnic background on oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL). Therefore, we aimed to identify the differences in children’s OHRQoL between ethnic groups, and the contribution of oral health status, SEP, and immigration characteristics.


This study was part of the Generation R Study, a prospective cohort study conducted in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. In total, 3121 9-year-old children with a native Dutch (n = 2510), Indonesian (n = 143), Moroccan (n = 104), Surinamese (n = 195), or Turkish (n = 169) background participated in the present study. These ethnicities comprise the most common ethnic groups in the Netherlands. OHRQoL was assessed using a validated short form of the child oral health impact profile. Several regression models were used to study an association between ethnic background and OHRQoL, and to identify potential mediating factors.


Turkish and Surinamese ethnic background were significantly associated with lower OHRQoL. After adjusting for mediating factors, only Surinamese children had a significantly lower OHRQoL than Dutch children (β:− 0.61; 95% CI− 1.18 to –0.04).


Our results show that Turkish and Surinamese children have a significantly lower OHRQoL than native Dutch children. The association was partly explained by oral health status and SEP, and future studies are needed to understand (cultural) the determinants of ethnic disparities in OHRQoL, in order to develop effective oral health programs targeting children of different ethnic groups.

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