BACKGROUND: A parental/family history of poor oral health may influence the oral-health-related quality of life (OHRQOL) of adults.
OBJECTIVES: To determine whether the oral health of mothers of young children can predict the OHRQOL of those same children when they reach adulthood.
METHODS: Oral examination and interview data from the Dunedin Study’s age-32 assessment, as well as maternal self-rated oral health data from the age-5 assessment were used. The main outcome measure was study members’ short-form Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP-14) at age 32. Analyses involved 827 individuals (81.5% of the surviving cohort) dentally examined at both ages, who also completed the OHIP-14 questionnaire at age 32, and whose mothers were interviewed at the age-5 assessment.
RESULTS: There was a consistent gradient of relative risk across the categories of maternal self-rated oral health status at the age-5 assessment for having one or more impacts in the overall OHIP-14 scale, whereby risk was greatest among the study members whose mothers rated their oral health as “poor/edentulous”, and lowest among those with an “excellent/fairly good” rating. In addition, there was a gradient in the age-32 mean OHIP-14 score, and in the mean number of OHIP-14 impacts at age 32 across the categories of maternal self-rated oral health status. The higher risk of having one or more impacts in the psychological discomfort subscale, when mother rated her oral health as “poor/edentulous”, was statistically significant.
CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that maternal self-rated oral health when a child is young has a bearing on that child’s OHRQOL almost three decades later. The adult offspring of mothers with poor self-rated oral health had poorer OHRQOL outcomes, particularly in the psychological discomfort subscale.