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Volume 15 No. 03
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Accepted Papers

Scientific Investigations

Oral Health and Oral Health-Related Quality of Life in Children With Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Basma Tamasas, BDS, MS, PhD1,2; Travis Nelson, DDS, MSD, MPH3; Maida Chen, MD4,5
1Department of Oral Health Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington; 2Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development, Seattle Children's Research Institute, Seattle, Washington; 3Department of Pediatric Dentistry, School of Dentistry, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington; 4Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington; 5Pediatric Sleep Disorders Center, Seattle Children's Hospital, Seattle, Washington

Study Objectives:

This aim of this study was to evaluate oral health and oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) in children with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).


This cross-sectional study involved 31 children who had baseline polysomnography studies and in whom a diagnosis of OSA was made by a sleep physician. They were evaluated against 36 control patients who, based on parent responses to the Pediatric Sleep Questionnaire, were at very low risk for having sleep problems. The mean age of the cohort was 12.3 ± 2.7 years. The oral health status was examined clinically and recorded using caries and periodontal indices. OHRQoL was measured using the Child Oral Health Impact Profile (COHIP) questionnaires.


Children with OSA had significantly worsened oral health compared to control patients as evidenced by more caries (15.2 and 3.2, respectively; P < .001) and more periodontitis. Periodontitis severity was measured by the presence of bleeding on probing, (87% versus 30%, P < .001) and higher number of sites with abnormally deep periodontal probing depths (2.7 versus 0.3, P < .001). The COHIP scores were significantly higher among children with OSA compared to control patients, (29.7 versus 11.8, P < .001) consistent with poorer OHRQoL.


This study suggests that in children OSA may have a significant association with poorer oral health when compared to control patients without sleep problems, and that their oral health status may have a negative effect on their quality of life. Increased awareness regarding the oral health effects of sleep-disordered breathing in the medical and dental community is needed.


Tamasas B, Nelson T, Chen M. Health and oral health-related quality of life in children with obstructive sleep apnea. J Clin Sleep Med. 2019;15(3):445–452.

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