Effect of dental caries and malocclusion on the oral health-related quality of life in 12-14 year old children in Viwandani Slum, Nairobi
Background: Traditional methods of measuring oral health mainly use clinical dental indices. In recent years, the use of subjective assessments to gain information about the impact of oral disorders on Oral-Health Related Quality of Life (OHRQoL) has been advocated. By supplementing the clinical assessments with subjective assessments, a comprehensive account of the oral health of populations can be given. Studies on the OHRQoL of children in Kenya are so far largely unexplored. Objective: This study aimed at assessing the effect of dental caries and malocclusion on the OHRQoL of 12-14 year-old children residing in Viwandani slum. Study design: This was a descriptive cross-sectional study. Subjects and methods: A total of four hundred and fifty two children aged 12-14 years attending public and private primary schools in Viwandani slum, Nairobi participated in the study. Their mean age was 12.9 years. The two public schools in the slum were included in the study. The private schools were selected through simple random sampling. The children in each school were selected through stratified random sampling method. Data on OHRQoL was obtained using an interviewer administered Child-Oral Impacts on Daily Performance (Child-OIDP) Index. Intra-oral clinical examination was done to assess caries experience using the DMFT index and severity of malocclusion, using the Dental Aesthetic (DAI) Index. The data obtained were analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) programme. Spearman's Rank Order Correlation and Kruskal-Wallis tests were used to relate caries experience and severity of malocclusion with OHRQoL. Results: The prevalence of dental caries was 56.2%. The overall mean DMFT was 1.72 ±2.40, with the mean DMFT for the female and male children being 1.73 ±2.07 and 1.71 ±2.40 respectively. There was no statistically significant difference between the males and females (p=O.95) with regard to their mean DMFT. The prevalence of malocclusion was 32%, of which 19.9% had definite malocclusion, 6.7% had severe malocclusion and 5.4% had handicapping malocclusion. More males than females had malocclusion with the difference being statistically significant (p=O.01). A statistically significant correlation was found between caries experience and OHRQoL (~=O.09, p=O.OO). There was no association between the presence of malocclusion and OHRQoL (p=O.20). Conclusion: Dental caries was found to affect many aspects of the children's Oral Health-Related Quality of Life, while malocclusion had no effect on the OHRQoL of these children. Recommendation: There is a need for preventive and curative oral health services for the children in Viwandani slum. More studies are needed to determine the dietary patterns and oral hygiene practices of the children living in the slum in order to aid in future planning of appropriate interventions.