Health-related quality of life (HQoL) indicators are considered valid measures of patient assessment in physical, mental and oral healthcare. This study aimed to examine the evidence on the relationship of oral health status, demographic and socioeconomic characteristics with oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) in children.
Studies in English published up to December 2019 were searched on PsycINFO, PubMed, SciELO, Scopus, and Web of Science databases. Epidemiological studies simultaneously assessing sociodemographic factors related to oral health (age, income, gender, maternal education), oral health measures (orthodontic treatment needs, dental caries and periodontal disease) and OHRQoL in children aged 3–12 years were included. Methodological quality was assessed using a Critical Appraisal Checklist. Meta-analysis was used to estimate pooled measures between sociodemographic factors and oral health measures with OHRQoL.
Eleven articles were included. Lower children’s age (3–5 years vs > 5), gender (girls vs boys), lower income (< 70$ vs ≥ $70), low maternal education (≤ 6 vs > 6 years) were associated with poor OHRQoL among children. Orthodontic treatment needs, dental caries and periodontal diseases were also associated with poor children’s OHRQoL. Meta-regression showed that Human Development Index, sample size, year of publication and participant’s age were relevant aspects that influenced the above mentioned relationships.
Our findings suggest that oral health promotion strategies to improve children’s OHRQoL should consider the social and environmental where they live as well their oral health status. Further longitudinal studies are needed to explore the determinants of OHQoL in children.