Introduction: The study aimed to compare the oral health variables, general, and oral health-related quality of life (QoL),
depression, and anxiety between spinal cord injury (SCI) patients and healthy controls and also to determine the key factors
related to the oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) in the SCI patients.
Methods: A total of 203 SCI patients
and 203 healthy controls were enrolled. Patients and healthy adults were invited to attend a dental clinic to complete the
study measures and undergo oral clinical examinations. OHRQoL was assessed by the 14-item Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP-14),
and the general health-related quality of life (GHRQoL) was evaluated by SF-36. In SCI patients, depression and anxiety were
recorded using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), while Functional Assessment Measure (FAM) was used to assess
dependence and disability. All the subjects were examined for caries which was quantified using the decayed, missing, and
filled Teeth (DMFT) index, gingival bleeding index (GI), plaque index, and periodontal status by community periodontal index
Results: The analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) revealed significant differences between the two groups in terms of
oral health expressed in DMFT, oral hygiene, and periodontal status, controlled for age, gender, family income, and occupational
status (p < 0.001). Using the hierarchical linear regression analyses, in the final model, which accounted for 18% of the
total variance (F(126.7), p < 0.01), significant predictors of OHRQoL were irregular tooth brushing (β = 1.23; 95% CI =
1.06; 1.41), smoking (β = 0.82; 95% CI = 0.66; 0.97), dry mouth (β = 0.37; 95% CI = −0.65 to 0.10) functional and motor functioning
(β = 0.32; 95% CI = −0.45 to 0.17), DMFT (β = 0.06; 95% CI = 0.02; 0.09), CPI (β = 0.22; 95% CI = 0.04; 0.04), physical component
measure of GHRQoL (β = −0.275; 95% CI = −0.42 to 0.13), lesion level at the lumbar–sacral (β = −0.18; 95% CI = −0.29 to −0.06)
and thoracic level (β = −0.09; 95% CI = −0.11 to −0.06).
Conclusion: SCI patients had poor oral hygiene practices, greater
levels of plaque, gingival bleeding, and caries experience than the healthy controls. In addition, more number of SCI patients
had periodontal pockets and dry mouth than the comparative group. SCI patients experienced more depression and anxiety, poor
GHRQoL, and OHRQoL than the healthy control group. The factors that influenced OHRQoL in SCI patients were age, toothbrushing
frequency, smoking, oral clinical status, depression, physical component of GHRQoL, and level of lesion.