Oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) is a complex construct that reflects the interaction among well-being, socioeconomic, oral health status, and also contextual factors. This study aimed to verify the association between poorer socioeconomic background and oral health condition on OHRQoL throughout adolescence.
A cohort study followed a random sample of 1134 participants aged 12 years in 2012 (T1), 770 adolescents with an average age of 14 years in 2014 (T2; retention rate, 67.9%), and 768 adolescents with an average age of 17.5 years in 2018 (T3; retention rate, 67.8%). OHRQoL was collected three times using the Brazilian short version of the Childhood Perception Questionnaire 11–14 (CPQ 11–14). At baseline, the adolescents were clinically assessed by dentists, and their demographic data, socioeconomic status, use of dental services, and toothache were evaluated. The mean income of the neighborhood was used as a proxy of contextual factors. This variable was obtained from an official municipal publication. Poisson multilevel regression analyses were performed using a hierarchical approach to assess the predictors of OHRQoL over time.
Adolescents living in a neighborhood with low mean income, low household income, low education levels, girls, and nonwhite individuals reported poor OHRQoL. Clinical variables such as gingival bleeding and malocclusion were also associated with higher overall scores on CPQ11-14, indicating poor OHRQoL.
Our results showed that the unfavorable contextual and individual socioeconomic environment, and oral disease negatively influenced OHRQoL during adolescence.