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Vol. 75, No. 7
ISSN: 1488-2159
September 2009


Functional and Psychosocial Impacts of Oral Disorders in Canadian Adults: A National Population Survey


• David Locker, BDS, PhD, DSc •
• Carlos Quiñonez, DDS, MSc •

A b s t r a c t

Background: In Canada, national health surveys do not usually include questions pertaining to self-perceived oral health. Those that do use ad hoc sets of questions rather than standardized and validated measures of the functional and psychosocial impacts of oral disorders.

Aims: To collect national data on the impacts of oral disorders from a representative sample of Canadian adults and to compare the results with similar national surveys conducted in the United Kingdom and Australia.

Methods: Data were collected from adults by means of a telephone interview survey based on random-digit dialing. Oral health was measured with the short-form Oral Health Impact Profile (also known as the OHIP-14 questionnaire), which asks about the frequency of 14 functional and psychosocial impacts that people have experienced in the previous year as a result of problems with their teeth, mouth or dentures.

Results: Of 3,033 interviews conducted, data were sufficient for analysis for 3,019 respondents. Just under one-fifth of the 3,019 respondents (19.5%) reported 1 or more of the 14 impacts “fairly often” or “very often” in the previous year. The prevalence was higher among edentulous respondents (30.7%) than among dentate respondents(18.6%), as were the extent and severity scores. The prevalence of impacts was lowest in Atlantic Canada (16.1%) and highest in the Prairies (23.3%), although the difference was not statistically significant. Prevalence rates and extent and severity scores were highest among those who wore dentures, recipients of public dental care and irregular dental visitors. Considerable income disparities were also observed, with 34.9% of those from the lowest-income households reporting impacts. The prevalence of effects and the extent and severity scores in Canada were similar to those reported from the United Kingdom and Australia.

Conclusions: One in 5 Canadian adults experienced adverse impacts from oral disorders. Further work is needed to identify the material and psychological determinants of these impacts.


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