Significant strides have been made in recent years in developing and applying oral health related quality of life measures for young children.  Most studies rely on caregiver reports of the impact of severe caries on their children or on the family although some studies also include self-reports from children.  Filstrup et al., included self-reports from children on the impact of caries on quality of life.  Forty-three percent of children, ages 36-47 months (16 of 37 children) were able to respond to questions, such as, “Do your teeth hurt you now?” and “Does a hurting tooth wake you up at night?”

A common and immediate consequence of untreated dental caries on quality of life is dental pain.  However, there are few studies of the epidemiology of children’s dental pain.  A study of Head Start children in Maryland reported that 16.6% of children with caries complained of a toothache and 8.9% cried because of a toothache.  Children with dental pain will affect their regular activities, such as eating, sleeping and playing.   Early childhood caries also may contribute to other health problems, such as weight loss; however, the evidence for this is inconsistent.