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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.  Age, period, and cohort analysis of regular dental care behavior and edentulism: A marginal approach 
BMC Oral Health  2011;11:9.
To analyze the regular dental care behavior and prevalence of edentulism in adult Danes, reported in sequential cross-sectional oral health surveys by the application of a marginal approach to consider the possible clustering effect of birth cohorts.
Data from four sequential cross-sectional surveys of non-institutionalized Danes conducted from 1975-2005 comprising 4330 respondents aged 15+ years in 9 birth cohorts were analyzed. The key study variables were seeking dental care on an annual basis (ADC) and edentulism. For the analysis of ADC, survey year, age, gender, socio-economic status (SES) group, denture-wearing, and school dental care (SDC) during childhood were considered. For the analysis of edentulism, only respondents aged 35+ years were included. Survey year, age, gender, SES group, ADC, and SDC during childhood were considered as the independent factors. To take into account the clustering effect of birth cohorts, marginal logistic regressions with an independent correlation structure in generalized estimating equations (GEE) were carried out, with PROC GENMOD in SAS software.
The overall proportion of people seeking ADC increased from 58.8% in 1975 to 86.7% in 2005, while for respondents aged 35 years or older, the overall prevalence of edentulism (35+ years) decreased from 36.4% in 1975 to 5.0% in 2005. Females, respondents in the higher SES group, in more recent survey years, with no denture, and receiving SDC in all grades during childhood were associated with higher probability of seeking ADC regularly (P < 0.05). The interaction of SDC and age (P < 0.0001) was significant. The probabilities of seeking ADC were even higher among subjects with SDC in all grades and aged 45 years or older. Females, older age group, respondents in earlier survey years, not seeking ADC, lower SES group, and not receiving SDC in all grades were associated with higher probability of being edentulous (P < 0.05).
With the use of GEE, the potential clustering effect of birth cohorts in sequential cross-sectional oral health survey data could be appropriately considered. The success of Danish dental health policy was demonstrated by a continued increase of regular dental visiting habits and tooth retention in adults because school dental care was provided to Danes in their childhood.
PMCID: PMC3073963  PMID: 21410991
3.  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

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