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1.  Parental Perception of Oral Health Status of Children in Mainstream and Special Education Classrooms 
The aim of this study was to compare parental perceptions of oral health status and access to dental services by children in 34 special education and 16 mainstream public elementary school classes in San Mateo County, CA. A self-administered parental survey was utilized and included questions about demographics, oral health and dental utilization. The overall response rate was 58.8%. After adjusting for age and gender of the child, compared to mainstream, parents of special education students were significantly more likely to report their child to have: worse oral health (OR= 2.4, 95% CI 1.54, 3.67) lacking a past year dental visit (OR= 1.96, 95% CI 1.01, 3.84), and missed school days due to dental reasons (OR = 2.5, 95% CI 1.55, 4.17). Both groups rated the child’s oral health inferior to overall health rating (p<0.001). The authors concluded that disparities exist between the two groups in parental perceptions of their children’s oral health status and dental service utilization.
PMCID: PMC3106150  PMID: 19573042
Dental care; health status; health care disparities; parental perception; special education; child
2.  Oral health-related cultural beliefs for four racial/ethnic groups: Assessment of the literature 
BMC Oral Health  2008;8:26.
The purpose of this study was to assess information available in the dental literature on oral health-related cultural beliefs. In the US, as elsewhere, many racial/ethnic minority groups shoulder a disproportionate burden of oral disease. Cultural beliefs, values and practices are often implicated as causes of oral health disparities, yet little is known about the breadth or adequacy of literature about cultural issues that could support these assertions. Hence, this rigorous assessment was conducted of work published in English on cultural beliefs and values in relation to oral health status and dental practice. Four racial/ethnic groups in the US (African-American, Chinese, Filipino and Hispanic/Latino) were chosen as exemplar populations.
The dental literature published in English for the period 1980–2006 noted in the electronic database PUBMED was searched, using keywords and MeSH headings in different combinations for each racial/ethnic group to identify eligible articles. To be eligible the title and abstract when available had to describe the oral health-related cultural knowledge or orientation of the populations studied.
Overall, the majority of the literature on racial/ethnic groups was epidemiologic in nature, mainly demonstrating disparities in oral health rather than the oral beliefs or practices of these groups. A total of 60 relevant articles were found: 16 for African-American, 30 for Chinese, 2 for Filipino and 12 for Hispanic/Latino populations. Data on beliefs and practices from these studies has been abstracted, compiled and assessed. Few research-based studies were located. Articles lacked adequate identification of groups studied, used limited methods and had poor conceptual base.
The scant information available from the published dental and medical literature provides at best a rudimentary framework of oral health related ideas and beliefs for specific populations.
PMCID: PMC2566974  PMID: 18793438
3.  Assessing observational studies of medical treatments 
Previous studies have assessed the validity of the observational study design by comparing results of studies using this design to results from randomized controlled trials. The present study examined design features of observational studies that could have influenced these comparisons.
To find at least 4 observational studies that evaluated the same treatment, we reviewed meta-analyses comparing observational studies and randomized controlled trials for the assessment of medical treatments. Details critical for interpretation of these studies were abstracted and analyzed qualitatively.
Individual articles reviewed included 61 observational studies that assessed 10 treatment comparisons evaluated in two studies comparing randomized controlled trials and observational studies. The majority of studies did not report the following information: details of primary and ancillary treatments, outcome definitions, length of follow-up, inclusion/exclusion criteria, patient characteristics relevant to prognosis or treatment response, or assessment of possible confounding. When information was reported, variations in treatment specifics, outcome definition or confounding were identified as possible causes of differences between observational studies and randomized controlled trials, and of heterogeneity in observational studies.
Reporting of observational studies of medical treatments was often inadequate to compare study designs or allow other meaningful interpretation of results. All observational studies should report details of treatment, outcome assessment, patient characteristics, and confounding assessment.
PMCID: PMC1215501  PMID: 16137327
comparative studies; epidemiologic research design; meta-analysis; reproducibility of results; reporting criteria for observational studies

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