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1.  Effectiveness and reach of a directed-population approach to improving dental health and reducing inequalities: a cross sectional study 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:778.
Childsmile School adopts a directed-population approach to target fluoride varnish applications to 20% of the primary one (P1) population in priority schools selected on the basis of the proportion of enrolled children considered to be at increased-risk of developing dental caries. The study sought to compare the effectiveness of four different methods for identifying individuals most in need when a directed-population approach is taken.
The 2008 Basic National Dental Inspection Programme (BNDIP) cross-sectional P1 Scottish epidemiological survey dataset was used to model four methods and test three definitions of increased-risk. Effectiveness was determined by the positive predictive value (PPV) and explored in relation to 1-sensitivity and 1-specificity.
Complete data was available on 43470 children (87% of the survey). At the Scotland level, at least half (50%) of the children targeted were at increased-risk irrespective of the method used to target or the definition of increased-risk. There was no one method across all definitions of increased-risk that maximised PPV. Instead, PPV was highest when the targeting method complimented the definition of increased-risk. There was a higher percentage of children at increased-risk who were not targeted (1-sensitivity) when caries experience (rather than deprivation) was used to define increased-risk, irrespective of the method used for targeting. Over all three definitions of increased-risk, there was no one method that minimised (1-sensitivity) although this was lowest when the method and definition of increased-risk were complimentary. The false positive rate (1-specificity) for all methods and all definitions of increased-risk was consistently low (<20%), again being lowest when the method and definition of increased-risk were complimentary.
Developing a method to reach all (or even the vast majority) of individuals at increased-risk defined by either caries experience or deprivation is difficult using a directed-population approach at a group level. There is a need for a wider debate between politicians and public health experts to decide how best to reach those most at need of intervention to improve health and reduce inequalities.
PMCID: PMC3765943  PMID: 23978217
Targeted intervention; Directed-population; Proportionate universalism; Increased-risk; Inequalities; Deprivation; Caries
2.  Comparison and Relative Utility of Inequality Measurements: As Applied to Scotland’s Child Dental Health 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58593.
This study compared and assessed the utility of tests of inequality on a series of very large population caries datasets. National cross-sectional caries datasets for Scotland’s 5-year-olds in 1993/94 (n = 5,078); 1995/96 (n = 6,240); 1997/98 (n = 6,584); 1999/00 (n = 6,781); 2002/03 (n = 9,747); 2003/04 (n = 10,956); 2005/06 (n = 10,945) and 2007/08 (n = 12,067) were obtained. Outcomes were based on the d3mft metric (i.e. the number of decayed, missing and filled teeth). An area-based deprivation category (DepCat) measured the subjects’ socioeconomic status (SES). Simple absolute and relative inequality, Odds Ratios and the Significant Caries Index (SIC) as advocated by the World Health Organization were calculated. The measures of complex inequality applied to data were: the Slope Index of Inequality (absolute) and a variety of relative inequality tests i.e. Gini coefficient; Relative Index of Inequality; concentration curve; Koolman & Doorslaer’s transformed Concentration Index; Receiver Operator Curve and Population Attributable Risk (PAR). Additional tests used were plots of SIC deciles (SIC10) and a Scottish Caries Inequality Metric (SCIM10). Over the period, mean d3mft improved from 3.1(95%CI 3.0–3.2) to 1.9(95%CI 1.8–1.9) and d3mft = 0% from 41.1(95%CI 39.8–42.3) to 58.3(95%CI 57.8–59.7). Absolute simple and complex inequality decreased. Relative simple and complex inequality remained comparatively stable. Our results support the use of the SII and RII to measure complex absolute and relative SES inequalities alongside additional tests of complex relative inequality such as PAR and Koolman and Doorslaer’s transformed CI. The latter two have clear interpretations which may influence policy makers. Specialised dental metrics (i.e. SIC, SIC10 and SCIM10) permit the exploration of other important inequalities not determined by SES, and could be applied to many other types of disease where ranking of morbidity is possible e.g. obesity. More generally, the approaches described may be applied to study patterns of health inequality affecting worldwide populations.
PMCID: PMC3592808  PMID: 23520524
3.  Developing a new self-reported scale of oral health outcomes for 5-year-old children (SOHO-5) 
Information on the impact of oral health on quality of life of children younger than 8 years is mostly based on parental reports, as methodological and conceptual challenges have hindered the development of relevant validated self-reported measures. This study aimed to develop and assess the reliability and validity of a new self-reported oral health related quality of life measure, the Scale of Oral Health Outcomes for 5-year-old children (SOHO-5), in the UK.
A cross-sectional study of two phases. First, consultation focus groups (CFGs) with parents of 5-year-olds and review by experts informed the development of the SOHO-5 questionnaire. The second phase assessed its reliability and validity on a sample of grade 1 (5-year-old) primary schoolchildren in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area, Scotland. Data were linked to available clinical oral health information and analysis involved associations of SOHO-5 with subjective and clinical outcomes.
CFGs identified eating, drinking, appearance, sleeping, smiling, and socialising as the key oral impacts at this age. 332 children participated in the main study and for 296 (55% girls, mean d3mft: 1.3) clinical data were available. Overall, 49.0% reported at least one oral impact on their daily life. The most prevalent impacts were difficulty eating (28.7%), difficulty sleeping (18.5%), avoiding smiling due to toothache (14.9%) and avoiding smiling due to appearance (12.5%). The questionnaire was quick to administer, with very good comprehension levels. Cronbach’s alpha was 0.74 and item-total correlation coefficients ranged between 0.30 and 0.60, demonstrating the internal consistency of the new measure. For validity, SOHO-5 scores were significantly associated with different subjective oral health outcomes (current toothache, toothache lifetime experience, satisfaction with teeth, presence of oral cavities) and an aggregate measure of clinical and subjective oral health outcomes. The new measure also discriminated between different clinical groups in relation to active caries, pulp involvement, and dental sepsis.
This is the first study to develop and validate a self-reported oral health related quality of life measure for 5-year-old children. Initial reliability and validity findings were very satisfactory. SOHO-5 can be a useful tool in clinical studies and public health programs.
PMCID: PMC3413607  PMID: 22676710
Outcome measure; Psychometrics; Qualitative research; Quality of life; Validation
4.  Reductions in dental decay in 3-year old children in Greater Glasgow and Clyde: repeated population inspection studies over four years 
BMC Oral Health  2011;11:29.
Dental decay remains one of the world's most prevalent diseases in childhood. It is unfortunate that the proportion of children suffering from oral disease is so high, given that dental decay is almost entirely preventable. The objective of this study was to examine dental inspection data from three-year old children to assess the extent to which the dental health in Greater Glasgow and Clyde had improved during the initial years of the Childsmile intervention programme.
Dental inspections of three-year old children in Greater Glasgow and Clyde were undertaken in the academic years of 2006/7 and 2007/8 (the baseline years), and again in 2008/9 and 2009/10 (after the intervention had begun). A standardised protocol suitable for the age group was used. The number of decayed, missing and filled teeth was calculated (ie d3mft). If d3mft was > 0 then a child was said to have 'obvious decay experience' into the dentine. Additional results examined the effect of socioeconomic status using the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD).
We inspected 10022 children (19% of the population). The weighted percentage of children with decay experience was 26% in 2006/7, 25% (2007/8), reducing to 18% (2007/8) and 17% (2009/10). When compared to the first baseline year of 2006/7, the OR was 0.91 for 2007/8 (0.79-1.06, p = 0.221), 0.63 for 2008/9 (0.55-0.72, p < 0.001), and 0.50 for 2009/10 (0.43-0.58, p < 0.001). The weighted mean d3mft was 1.1 in 2006/7, 1.0 in 2007/8 (p = 0.869), 0.6 in 2008/9 (p < 0.001) and 0.4 in 2009/10 (p < 0.001). Reductions in decay were seen in all socioeconomic groups.
This study demonstrates that it is possible to impact upon the prevalence and morbidity of dental decay across the socioeconomic spectrum in a population. The dental health of young children in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area has improved in recent years.
PMCID: PMC3209436  PMID: 22035133
5.  The translation research in a dental setting (TRiaDS) programme protocol 
It is well documented that the translation of knowledge into clinical practice is a slow and haphazard process. This is no less true for dental healthcare than other types of healthcare. One common policy strategy to help promote knowledge translation is the production of clinical guidance, but it has been demonstrated that the simple publication of guidance is unlikely to optimise practice. Additional knowledge translation interventions have been shown to be effective, but effectiveness varies and much of this variation is unexplained. The need for researchers to move beyond single studies to develop a generalisable, theory based, knowledge translation framework has been identified.
For dentistry in Scotland, the production of clinical guidance is the responsibility of the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP). TRiaDS (Translation Research in a Dental Setting) is a multidisciplinary research collaboration, embedded within the SDCEP guidance development process, which aims to establish a practical evaluative framework for the translation of guidance and to conduct and evaluate a programme of integrated, multi-disciplinary research to enhance the science of knowledge translation.
Set in General Dental Practice the TRiaDS programmatic evaluation employs a standardised process using optimal methods and theory. For each SDCEP guidance document a diagnostic analysis is undertaken alongside the guidance development process. Information is gathered about current dental care activities. Key recommendations and their required behaviours are identified and prioritised. Stakeholder questionnaires and interviews are used to identify and elicit salient beliefs regarding potential barriers and enablers towards the key recommendations and behaviours. Where possible routinely collected data are used to measure compliance with the guidance and to inform decisions about whether a knowledge translation intervention is required. Interventions are theory based and informed by evidence gathered during the diagnostic phase and by prior published evidence. They are evaluated using a range of experimental and quasi-experimental study designs, and data collection continues beyond the end of the intervention to investigate the sustainability of an intervention effect.
The TRiaDS programmatic approach is a significant step forward towards the development of a practical, generalisable framework for knowledge translation research. The multidisciplinary composition of the TRiaDS team enables consideration of the individual, organisational and system determinants of professional behaviour change. In addition the embedding of TRiaDS within a national programme of guidance development offers a unique opportunity to inform and influence the guidance development process, and enables TRiaDS to inform dental services practitioners, policy makers and patients on how best to translate national recommendations into routine clinical activities.
PMCID: PMC2920875  PMID: 20646275
6.  A randomised controlled trial of a smoking cessation intervention delivered by dental hygienists: a feasibility study 
BMC Oral Health  2007;7:5.
Tobacco use continues to be a global public health problem. Helping patients to quit is part of the preventive role of all health professionals. There is now increasing interest in the role that the dental team can play in helping their patients to quit smoking. The aim of this study was to determine the feasibility of undertaking a randomised controlled smoking cessation intervention, utilising dental hygienists to deliver tobacco cessation advice to a cohort of periodontal patients.
One hundred and eighteen patients who attended consultant clinics in an outpatient dental hospital department (Periodontology) were recruited into a trial. Data were available for 116 participants, 59 intervention and 57 control, and were analysed on an intention-to-treat basis. The intervention group received smoking cessation advice based on the 5As (ask, advise, assess, assist, arrange follow-up) and were offered nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), whereas the control group received 'usual care'. Outcome measures included self-reported smoking cessation, verified by salivary cotinine measurement and CO measurements. Self-reported measures in those trial participants who did not quit included number and length of quit attempts and reduction in smoking.
At 3 months, 9/59 (15%) of the intervention group had quit compared to 5/57 (9%) of the controls. At 6 months, 6/59 (10%) of the intervention group quit compared to 3/57 (5%) of the controls. At one year, there were 4/59 (7%) intervention quitters, compared to 2/59 (4%) control quitters. In participants who described themselves as smokers, at 3 and 6 months, a statistically higher percentage of intervention participants reported that they had had a quit attempt of at least one week in the preceding 3 months (37% and 47%, for the intervention group respectively, compared with 18% and 16% for the control group).
This study has shown the potential that trained dental hygienists could have in delivering smoking cessation advice. While success may be modest, public health gain would indicate that the dental team should participate in this activity. However, to add to the knowledge-base, a multi-centred randomised controlled trial, utilising biochemical verification would be required to be undertaken.
PMCID: PMC1871574  PMID: 17475005

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