Dental caries is generally given the highest priority in national oral health services for school-aged populations. Yet, there is no study exploring the impacts on quality of life specifically related to dental caries in national samples of school-aged children. This study assessed prevalence and characteristics of oral impacts attributed to dental caries on quality of life and compared them with overall oral health impacts. In addition, associations of oral impacts attributed to dental caries and dental caries status were investigated. A national representative sample of 1,063 12- and 811 15-year-olds completed a sociodemographic and behavioural questionnaire, and were orally examined and interviewed about oral health-related quality of life using the Child-OIDP or OIDP indexes, respectively. Associations of condition-specific impacts (CS impacts) attributed to dental caries with components of DMF were investigated using χ2 tests and multivariate logistic regressions. CS impacts attributed to dental caries were reported by nearly half the children and such impacts accounted for half of overall oral impacts from all oral conditions. The majority of impacts were of little intensity and affected only 1–2 daily performances, particularly performances on Eating, Emotional stability and Cleaning teeth. CS impacts were significantly positively associated with number of decayed teeth, and strongly associated with severe decay.

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