Abstract: Aim The objective was to assess the impact of oral health on the quality of life of HIV-infected patients aged 3-6 years based on their caregivers’ perceptions.
Methods A questionnaire for measuring the perception and the instrument Early Childhood Oral Health Impact Scale (ECOHIS) were applied to 31 caregivers whose children were being treated in a public hospital.
Results The mean age of the children was 4.52 years (SD 1.22). The total ECOHIS score ranged from 0 to 26, with a mean value of 4.13 (SD 6.66). Seventeen children (54.8%) were found to have at least one impact: toothache (64.7%), herpetic gingivostomatitis (23.5%) or both (11.8%). Statistically significant difference was found between the ECOHIS score and presence of restored teeth, prior dental treatment, AIDS, and viral load. With respect to the caregivers’ perception, it resulted to be adequate, as those caregivers whose children had a greater number of decayed teeth and higher biofilm index also considered the oral health to be bad (P<0.001). However, the children’s general health was found to be good despite the worse immunological classification (P<0.017).
Conclusion The quality of life of the HIV-infected children has been negatively affected by the oral health.