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Oral conditions and quality of life.

Jones JA, Kressin NR, Kazis LE, Miller DR, Iii AS, Lee A, Garcia RI. Oral conditions and quality of life. The Journal of ambulatory care management. 2006 Apr 1; 29(2):167-81.

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Oral conditions can have serious, disabling effects. The purposes of this study are 2-fold: first to estimate the prevalence and severity of self-reported oral problems in male veterans who use Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) outpatient medical (but not dental) care and, second, we examine to what extent the impact of oral conditions is associated with measures of general health and well-being. Male veteran users of outpatient VA medical care from the Veterans Health Study (N = 2425) were surveyed using questionnaires, which included sociodemographic information, the SF-36, the Geriatric Oral Health Assessment Index (GOHAI), and the Oral Health and Quality of Life (OHQOL) measure. Only 28% of these users of VA outpatient care rated their oral health as excellent or very good, 32% as good, and nearly 40% as fair or poor. Furthermore, only one half of respondents could always eat without discomfort, were pleased with the looks of their teeth, and had no worries about their teeth. Factor analysis of the SF-36, GOHAI, and OHQOL items confirmed that both the GOHAI and the OHQOL are separate and independent of the 8 scales of the SF-36. Regression analyses showed that the GOHAI but not the OHQOL is significantly associated with the mental and physical component summary scales of the SF-36 when both sociodemographics and disease burden are controlled for in the models. Oral problems, as measured by the GOHAI and the OHQOL, are significant burdens on the health and function of veterans who use VA outpatient care. Oral health, as measured by the GOHAI, contributes in an important way to the functional well-being of users of VA healthcare.

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