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Open Access Short report

Longitudinal associations between oral health impacts and quality of life among a national cohort of Thai adults

Vasoontara Yiengprugsawan1, Tewarit Somkotra2*, Sam-ang Seubsman13 and Adrian C Sleigh1

Author Affiliations

1 National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

2 Department of Community Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, Chulalongkorn University, Patumwan, Bangkok, Thailand

3 School of Human Ecology, Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University, Nonthaburi, Thailand

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Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2013, 11:172  doi:10.1186/1477-7525-11-172

Published: 18 October 2013

Abstract

Background

There is limited evidence on the association between oral health and general health in middle-income countries. This study analysed data from 60,569 adult students enrolled at Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University and residing throughout Thailand who reported oral health impacts at the 2005 baseline and 2009 health status based on Short Form (SF-8) survey.

Findings

In 2005, 16.4% had difficulty chewing and/or swallowing, 13.4% reported difficulty speaking and/or discomfort with social interaction, and 10.8% of the cohort reported having pain associated with teeth or dentures. Cohort members reporting one or more oral health impacts in 2005 had lower SF-8 mean scores in 2009. In particular, monotonic dose–response gradients in 2005–2009 associations based on multivariate linear regression were found between an increase in number of oral impacts (0, 1, 2, 3) and a decline in SF-8 Physical Component Summary scores (adjusted means of 50.5, 49.2, 48.6, 47.9) as well as SF-8 Mental Component Summary scores (adjusted means of 43.2, 40.9, 40.3, 38.6) in younger cohort members. Similar dose response gradients were found in older cohort members.

Conclusions

We found strong association between oral health impacts and adverse health and quality of life among Thai adults. This finding confirms that oral health is one of the key determinants of population health.

Keywords:
Oral health; Longitudinal analysis; Cohort study; Quality of life; Thailand