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The impact of xerostomia on oral-health-related quality of life among younger adults.

Author information

1
Department of Oral Sciences, School of Dentistry, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. murray.thomson@stonebow.otago.ac.nz

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Recent research has suggested that chronic dry mouth affects the day-to-day lives of older people living in institutions. The condition has usually been considered to be a feature of old age, but recent work by our team produced the somewhat surprising finding that 10% of people in their early thirties are affected. This raises the issue of whether dry mouth is a trivial condition or a more substantial threat to quality of life among younger people. The objective of this study was to examine the association between xerostomia and oral-health-related quality of life among young adults while controlling for clinical oral health status and other potential confounding factors.

METHODS:

Cross-sectional analysis of data from a longstanding prospective observational study of a Dunedin (New Zealand) birth cohort: clinical dental examinations and questionnaires were used at age 32. The main measures were xerostomia (the subjective feeling of dry mouth, measured with a single question) and oral-health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) measured using the short-form Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP-14).

RESULTS:

Of the 923 participants (48.9% female), one in ten were categorised as 'xerostomic', with no apparent gender difference. There was a strong association between xerostomia and OHRQoL (across all OHIP-14 domains) which persisted after multivariate analysis to control for clinical characteristics, gender, smoking status and personality characteristics (negative emotionality and positive emotionality).

CONCLUSION:

Xerostomia is not a trivial condition; it appears to have marked and consistent effects on sufferers' day-to-day lives.

PMID:
17090332
PMCID:
PMC1637097
DOI:
10.1186/1477-7525-4-86
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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