Date of Award

Spring 2007

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Dental Hygiene


Dental Hygiene

Committee Director

Michele L. Darby

Committee Member

Gayle McCombs

Committee Member

Carleen M. Lynch

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.D46 P65 2007


This study determined if vital tooth whitening affects oral health-related quality of life (OHRQOL) in adults ≥50-years old, and if tooth whitening promotes individuals to seek regular professional dental care and participation in social activities. Using a two-group, single blind, randomized, pre-test-post-test design, 62 participants were enrolled. The experimental group used a whitening product twice daily for three weeks, while the control group used no whitening products. Tooth color satisfaction was assessed using the Tooth Color Satisfaction Scale and was correlated with overall oral health-related quality of life. The Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP), used as the pre-test and post-test measures oral health-related quality of life on seven subscales: functional factors, psychological disabilities, psychological discomforts, physical disabilities, social disabilities, handicaps, and physical pain. The Additional Questions Survey measured the participants' number of social activities and dental care encounters at baseline, three weeks, and three months. Data from 53 participants who completed the study were analyzed using paired t-tests and ANOV A at p≤.05. Whitening group pre-test to post-test scores changed significantly on the handicap subscale, suggesting that persons who experienced tooth whitening were more willing to work due to a perceived increase in health associated with tooth whitening. A statistically significant difference was observed for the physical pain subscale with the whitening group reporting more pain.

Pre-test to post-test physical pain subscale means increased in the whitening group suggesting a lower oral health-related quality of life for participants. Repeated measures ANOVA and Tukey's post-hoc tests revealed that the whitening group reported significantly less social activities at the three-month post-test. No statistically significant differences were observed in the overall OHIP score or for functional factors, psychological disabilities, psychological discomforts, physical disabilities, and social disabilities subscales. Regression analysis relating tooth color satisfaction with overall oral health-related quality of life revealed a significant correlation between tooth color satisfaction and overall OHIP for the whitening group. Participants who whitened their teeth reported an increase in tooth color satisfaction; tooth whitening did not improve their overall oral-health related quality of life.


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