Recording reliable oral health data is a challenge. The aims were a) to outline different Scandinavian systems of oral health monitoring, b) to evaluate the quality and utility of the collected data in the light of modern concepts of disease management and to suggest improvements.
Material and methods
The information for in this study was related to (a) children and adolescents, (b) oral health data and (c) routines for monitoring such data. This meant information available in the official web sites of the “KOSTRA-data” (Municipality-State-Report) in Norway, the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare (“Socialstyrelsen”) and Oral Health Register (the SCOR system, National Board of Health) in Denmark.
A potential for increasing the reliability and validity of the data existed. Routines for monitoring other oral diseases than caries were limited. Compared with the other Scandinavian countries, the data collection system in Denmark appeared more functional and had adopted more modern concepts of disease management than other systems. In the light of modern concepts of caries management, data collected elsewhere had limited utility.
The Scandinavian systems of health reporting had much in common, but some essential differences existed. If the quality of epidemiological data were enhanced, it would be possible to use the data for planning oral health care. Routines and procedures should be improved and updated in accordance with the modern ideas about caries prevention and therapy. For appropriate oral health planning in an organised dental service, reporting of enamel caries is essential.