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1.  Inequalities of caries experience in Nevada youth expressed by DMFT index vs. Significant Caries Index (SiC) over time 
BMC Oral Health  2011;11:12.
With the increasingly polarized distribution of dental caries among children and adolescents, the usual DMFT measure has become a less meaningful population descriptor. To re-focus on identifying the high caries prevalence group the Significant Caries Index (SiC) was created. The aims of this study were to analyze the prevalence and severity of dental caries in Nevada youth over a period of eight years and to compare its expression by means of DMFT and SiC; analyze the caries trends in the population and their underlying factors, and determine whether Nevada youth were at risk for significantly high levels of dental caries.
Retrospective data was analyzed from a series of sequential, standardized oral health surveys across eight years (2001/2002-2008/2009) that included over 62,000 examinations of adolescents 13-19 years of age, attending public/private Nevada schools. Mean Decayed-Missing-Filled Teeth index (DMFT) and Significant Caries Index (SiC) were subsequently computed for each academic year. Descriptive statistics were reported for analysis of comparative DMFT and SiC scores in relation to age, gender, racial background, and residence in a fluoridated/non-fluoridated community. Logistic regression analysis was used to analyze the differential impact of the variables on the probability of being in the high caries prevalence group.
Comparison of students' mean DMFT to National (NHANES) data confirmed that dental caries remains a common chronic disease among Nevada youth, presenting higher prevalence rates and greater mean scores than the national averages. Downward trends were found across all demographics compared between survey years 1 and 6 with the exception of survey year 3. An upward trend began in survey year six. Over time, the younger group displayed an increasing proportion of cariesfree individuals while a decreasing proportion was found among older examinees. As expected, the mean SiC score was significantly higher than DMFT scores within each survey year across comparison groups (p < 0.001).
Using both caries indices together may help to highlight oral health inequalities more accurately among different population groups within the community in order to identify the need for special preventive oral health interventions in adolescent Nevadans. At the community level, action should focus on retaining and expanding the community fluoridation program as an effective preventive measure. At the individual level the study identifies the need for more targeted efforts to reach children early with a focus on females, Hispanics and Blacks, and uninsured children.
PMCID: PMC3082236  PMID: 21466692
2.  A case-control study of determinants for high and low dental caries prevalence in Nevada youth 
BMC Oral Health  2010;10:24.
The main purpose of this study was to compare the 30% of Nevada Youth who presented with the highest Decayed Missing and Filled Teeth (DMFT) index to a cohort who were caries free and to national NHANES data. Secondly, to explore the factors associated with higher caries prevalence in those with the highest DMFT scores compared to the caries-free group.
Over 4000 adolescents between ages 12 and 19 (Case Group: N = 2124; Control Group: N = 2045) received oral health screenings conducted in public/private middle and high schools in Nevada in 2008/2009 academic year. Caries prevalence was computed (Untreated decay scores [D-Score] and DMFT scores) for the 30% of Nevada Youth who presented with the highest DMFT score (case group) and compared to the control group (caries-free) and to national averages. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression was used to analyze the relationship between selected variables and caries prevalence.
A majority of the sample was non-Hispanic (62%), non-smokers (80%), and had dental insurance (70%). With the exception of gender, significant differences in mean D-scores were found in seven of the eight variables. All variables produced significant differences between the case and control groups in mean DMFT Scores. With the exception of smoking status, there were significant differences in seven of the eight variables in the bivariate logistic regression. All of the independent variables remained in the multivariate logistic regression model contributing significantly to over 40% of the variation in the increased DMFT status. The strongest predictors for the high DMFT status were racial background, age, fluoridated community, and applied sealants respectively. Gender, second hand smoke, insurance status, and tobacco use were significant, but to a lesser extent.
Findings from this study will aid in creating educational programs and other primary and secondary interventions to help promote oral health for Nevada youth, especially focusing on the subgroup that presents with the highest mean DMFT scores.
PMCID: PMC2989299  PMID: 21067620
3.  Validation of a multifactorial risk factor model used for predicting future caries risk with nevada adolescents 
BMC Oral Health  2011;11:18.
The objective of this study was to measure the validity and reliability of a multifactorial Risk Factor Model developed for use in predicting future caries risk in Nevada adolescents in a public health setting.
This study examined retrospective data from an oral health surveillance initiative that screened over 51,000 students 13-18 years of age, attending public/private schools in Nevada across six academic years (2002/2003-2007/2008). The Risk Factor Model included ten demographic variables: exposure to fluoridation in the municipal water supply, environmental smoke exposure, race, age, locale (metropolitan vs. rural), tobacco use, Body Mass Index, insurance status, sex, and sealant application. Multiple regression was used in a previous study to establish which significantly contributed to caries risk. Follow-up logistic regression ascertained the weight of contribution and odds ratios of the ten variables. Researchers in this study computed sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PVP), negative predictive value (PVN), and prevalence across all six years of screening to assess the validity of the Risk Factor Model.
Subjects' overall mean caries prevalence across all six years was 66%. Average sensitivity across all six years was 79%; average specificity was 81%; average PVP was 89% and average PVN was 67%.
Overall, the Risk Factor Model provided a relatively constant, valid measure of caries that could be used in conjunction with a comprehensive risk assessment in population-based screenings by school nurses/nurse practitioners, health educators, and physicians to guide them in assessing potential future caries risk for use in prevention and referral practices.
PMCID: PMC3112437  PMID: 21599939
dental caries; DMFT Index; Specificity; Sensitivity

Results 1-3 (3)