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1.  Oral health-related cultural beliefs for four racial/ethnic groups: Assessment of the literature 
BMC Oral Health  2008;8:26.
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-8-26
PMCID: PMC2566974  PMID: 18793438
2.  Parental beliefs and attitudes towards child caries prevention: assessing consistency and validity in a longitudinal design 
BMC Oral Health  2008;8:1.
Background
Exploring the stability of self-reports over time in observational studies may give valuable information for the planning of future interventions. The aims of the present study were: 1) to explore the consistency of parental self-reports of oral health habits, beliefs and attitudes towards child oral health care over a two-year period; 2) to evaluate possible differences in item scores and consistency between parents with different immigrant status; and 3) to assess the construct validity of items measuring parental beliefs and attitudes towards child oral health care.
Methods
The sample (S1, n = 304) included parents of 3-year-old children in Oslo, Norway; 273 mothers of western origin (WN-group) and 31 of non-western origin (IM-group). They were surveyed in 2002 (child age 3 years) and in 2004 (child age 5 years). Two additional samples of parents were also included; one with 5-year old children in 2002 (S2, n = 382) and one with 3-year-old children in 2004 (S3, n = 427). The questionnaire included items measuring child oral health habits and parental beliefs and attitudes towards child oral health care.
Results
In 2002, 76.8% of the parents reported that they started to brush their child's teeth before the age of 1 year. Eighty-five percent of them reported the same in 2004; 87.0% of the WN-group and 33.3% of the IM-group (P < 0.001). For 17 of 39 items measuring beliefs and attitudes the responses were more positive for the WN-compared to the IM-group. Parents of caries-free children in 2004 reported significantly more positive beliefs and attitudes towards child oral health care in 2002 compared to parents of children with caries in 2004 (P < 0.05, P < 0.01 and P < 0.001). No differences in mean item scores were found between the three samples S1, S2 and S3.
Conclusion
The results showed a fair to good consistency of parental self-reports from 2002 to 2004. They also indicate that parents with different cultural backgrounds should be evaluated separately and in a cultural context.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-8-1
PMCID: PMC2258292  PMID: 18215270
3.  Oral health status and treatment needs of children and young adults attending a day centre for individuals with special health care needs 
BMC Oral Health  2008;8:30.
Background
The oral health condition of individuals with special health care needs have been reported in literature to be influenced by various sociodemographic factors, including living conditions and severity of impairment. This study was carried out to determine the oral health status and treatment needs of children and young adults attending a day institution for those with special needs.
Methods
This study was carried out as part of an oral health screening program organized by the institution and consent was obtained from parents and guardians before the screening. All information was supplied by the parents during the screening using a questionnaire completed by the dentist. Oral examination was carried out on all consenting subjects in attendance on the days of screening in the school clinic with parents and teachers in attendance, using standard World Health Organisation oral health indices to assess dental caries, oral hygiene status, malocclusion and other oral health parameters.
Results
Fifty-four subjects aged 3–26 years (mean 12.28 ± 6.82 years) and comprising 72.2% males and 27.8% females participated in the study. Over 90% were from parents of high and middle level educational background. Thirty-six (66.7%) were caries free, with a mean dmft score of 0.7 ± 1.77 and mean DMFT score of 0.4 ± 1.44 with no significant difference across gender (p = 0.5) and parents' educational status (p = 0.43). The mean OHI-S of the total population in this study was 1.36 ± 0.16. Females had a mean score of 0.88 ± 1.10 while males had a mean score of 1.55 ± 1.24 with no significant difference (p = 0.6). Twenty-five (46.3%) had good oral hygiene, 17 (31.5%) had fair oral hygiene and 12 (22.2%) had poor oral hygiene, with no significant difference across gender (p = 1.11) and age groups (p = 0.07). Fifteen (27.8%) had gingivitis with no significant difference across age groups (p = 0.17). Forty-five (83.3%) had Angle's class I malocclusion, 6(11.1%) class II and 3 (5.6%) class III. Chronologic enamel hypoplasia was found in 9 (16.7%) of the total population. Up to 53.7% of the total population will require oral prophylaxis, 33.3% required restorations on their posterior teeth and 12.9% required veneers for labial facing of hypoplastic enamel.
Conclusion
The subjects in this study had a high prevalence of dental caries and need for restorative care. They would benefit from parental education on diet modification, improvement of oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-8-30
PMCID: PMC2579283  PMID: 18945371
4.  Oral Health Care Reform in Finland – aiming to reduce inequity in care provision 
BMC Oral Health  2008;8:3.
Background
In Finland, dental services are provided by a public (PDS) and a private sector. In the past, children, young adults and special needs groups were entitled to care and treatment from the public dental services (PDS). A major reform in 2001 – 2002 opened the PDS and extended subsidies for private dental services to all adults. It aimed to increase equity by improving adults' access to oral health care and reducing cost barriers. The aim of this study was to assess the impacts of the reform on the utilization of publicly funded and private dental services, numbers and distribution of personnel and costs in 2000 and in 2004, before and after the oral health care reform. An evaluation was made of how the health political goals of the reform: integrating oral health care into general health care, improving adults' access to care and lowering cost barriers had been fulfilled during the study period.
Methods
National registers were used as data sources for the study. Use of dental services, personnel resources and costs in 2000 (before the reform) and in 2004 (after the reform) were compared.
Results
In 2000, when access to publicly subsidised dental services was restricted to those born in 1956 or later, every third adult used the PDS or subsidised private services. By 2004, when subsidies had been extended to the whole adult population, this increased to almost every second adult. The PDS reported having seen 118 076 more adult patients in 2004 than in 2000. The private sector had the same number of patients but 542 656 of them had not previously been entitled to partial reimbursement of fees.
The use of both public and subsidised private services increased most in big cities and urban municipalities where access to the PDS had been poor and the number of private practitioners was high. The PDS employed more dentists (6.5%) and the number of private practitioners fell by 6.9%. The total dental care expenditure (PDS plus private) increased by 21% during the study period. Private patients who had previously not been entitled to reimbursements seemed to gain most from the reform.
Conclusion
The results of this study indicate that implementation of a substantial reform, that changes the traditionally defined tasks of the public and private sectors in an established oral health care provision system, proceeds slowly, is expensive and probably requires more stringent steering than was the case in Finland 2001 – 2004. However, the equity and fairness of the oral health care provision system improved and access to services and cost-sharing improved slightly.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-8-3
PMCID: PMC2268684  PMID: 18226197
5.  An ethnographic study of Latino preschool children's oral health in rural California: Intersections among family, community, provider and regulatory sectors 
BMC Oral Health  2008;8:8.
Background
Latino children experience a higher prevalence of caries than do children in any other racial/ethnic group in the US. This paper examines the intersections among four societal sectors or contexts of care which contribute to oral health disparities for low-income, preschool Latino1 children in rural California.
Methods
Findings are reported from an ethnographic investigation, conducted in 2005–2006, of family, community, professional/dental and policy/regulatory sectors or contexts of care that play central roles in creating or sustaining low income, rural children's poor oral health status. The study community of around 9,000 people, predominantly of Mexican-American origin, was located in California's agricultural Central Valley. Observations in homes, community facilities, and dental offices within the region were supplemented by in-depth interviews with 30 key informants (such as dental professionals, health educators, child welfare agents, clinic administrators and regulatory agents) and 47 primary caregivers (mothers) of children at least one of whom was under 6 years of age.
Results
Caregivers did not always recognize visible signs of caries among their children, nor respond quickly unless children also complained of pain. Fluctuating seasonal eligibility for public health insurance intersected with limited community infrastructure and civic amenities, including lack of public transportation, to create difficulties in access to care. The non-fluoridated municipal water supply is not widely consumed because of fears about pesticide pollution. If the dentist brought children into the clinic for multiple visits, this caused the accompanying parent hardship and occasionally resulted in the loss of his or her job. Few general dentists had received specific training in how to handle young patients. Children's dental fear and poor provider-parent communication were exacerbated by a scarcity of dentists willing to serve rural low-income populations. Stringent state fiscal reimbursement policies further complicated the situation.
Conclusion
Several societal sectors or contexts of care significantly intersected to produce or sustain poor oral health care for children. Parental beliefs and practices, leading for example to delay in seeking care, were compounded by lack of key community or economic resources, and the organization and delivery of professional dental services. In the context of state-mandated policies and procedures, these all worked to militate against children receiving timely care that would considerably reduce oral health disparities among this highly disadvantaged population.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-8-8
PMCID: PMC2362117  PMID: 18377660
6.  Oral health investigations of indigenous participants in remote settings: a methods paper describing the dental component of wave III of an Australian Aboriginal birth cohort study 
BMC Oral Health  2008;8:24.
Background
A prospective Aboriginal Birth Cohort (ABC) study has been underway in Australia's Northern Territory since 1987. Inclusion of oral epidemiological information in a follow-up study required flexible and novel approaches with unconventional techniques. Documenting these procedures may be of value to researchers interested in including oral health components in remotely-located studies. The objectives are to compare and describe dental data collection methods in wave III of the ABC study with a more conventional oral health investigation.
Methods
The Australian National Survey of Adult Oral Health (NSAOH) was considered the 'conventional' study. Differences between this investigation and the dental component of the ABC study were assessed in terms of ethics, location, recruitment, consent, privacy, equipment, examination, clinical data collection and replication. In the ABC study, recording of clinical data by different voice recording techniques were described and assessed for ease-of-use portability, reliability, time-efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
Results
Conventional investigation recruitment was by post and telephone. Participants self presented. Examinations took place in dental clinics, using customised dental chairs with standard dental lights attached. For all examinations, a dental assistant recorded dental data directly onto a laptop computer. By contrast, follow-up of ABC study participants involved a multi-phase protocol with reliance on locally-employed Indigenous advocates bringing participants to the examination point. Dental examinations occurred in settings ranging from health centre clinic rooms to improvised spaces outdoors. The dental chair was a lightweight, portable reclining camp chair and the dental light a fire-fighter's head torch with rechargeable batteries. The digital voice recorder was considered the most suitable instrument for clinical dental data collection in the ABC study in comparison with computer-based voice-recording software.
Conclusion
Oral health examinations among indigenous populations residing in predominantly remote locations are more logistically challenging than are surveys of the general population. However, lack of resources or conventional clinical infrastructures need not compromise the collection of dental data in such studies. Instead, there is a need to be flexible and creative in establishing culturally-sensitive environments with available resources, and to consider non-conventional approaches to data gathering.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-8-24
PMCID: PMC2527296  PMID: 18702826
7.  Study protocol of the Center for Oral Health Research in Appalachia (COHRA) etiology study 
BMC Oral Health  2008;8:18.
Background
People in Appalachia experience some of the worst oral health in the United States. To develop effective intervention and prevention strategies in Appalachia, we must understand the complex relationships among the contributing factors and how they affect the etiology of oral diseases. To date, no such comprehensive analysis has been conducted. This report summarizes the characteristics of the sample and describes the protocol of a study determining contributions of individual, family, and community factors to oral diseases in Appalachian children and their relatives.
Methods/Design
Families participated in a comprehensive assessment protocol involving interviews, questionnaires, a clinical oral health assessment, a microbiological assessment, and collection of DNA. The design of the study is cross-sectional.
Conclusion
Due to its multilevel design and large, family-based sample, this study has the potential to greatly advance our understanding of factors that contribute to oral health in Appalachian children.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-8-18
PMCID: PMC2443132  PMID: 18522740
8.  The Dutch version of the Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP-NL): Translation, reliability and construct validity 
BMC Oral Health  2008;8:11.
Background
The purpose of this study was to make a cross-culturally adapted, Dutch version of the Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP), a 49-item questionnaire measuring oral health-related quality of life, and to examine its psychometric properties.
Methods
The original English version of the OHIP was translated into the Dutch language, following the guidelines for cross-cultural adaptation of health-related quality of life measures. The resulting OHIP-NL's psychometric properties were examined in a sample of 119 patients (68.9 % women; mean age = 57.1 ± 12.2 yrs). They were referred to the clinic of Prosthodontics and Implantology with complaints concerning their partial or full dentures or other problems with missing teeth. To establish the reliability of the OHIP-NL, internal consistency and test-retest reliability (N = 41; 1 – 2 weeks interval) were examined, using Cronbach's alpha and intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC), respectively. Further, construct validity was established by calculating ANOVA.
Results
Internal consistency and test-retest reliability were excellent (Cronbach's alpha = 0.82 – 0.97; ICC = 0.78 – 0.90). In addition, all associations were significant and in the expected direction.
Conclusion
In conclusion: the OHIP-NL can be considered a reliable and valid instrument to measure oral health-related quality of life.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-8-11
PMCID: PMC2329613  PMID: 18405359
9.  Oral health promotion for schoolchildren – evaluation of a pragmatic approach with emphasis on improving brushing skills 
BMC Oral Health  2008;8:4.
Background
Preventive dentistry has traditionally emphasized improvement of oral hygiene. School-based programs, often delivered by dental hygienists or other health educators, are usually limited to dental knowledge provision. The present study focused on promotion of health behavior. The objectives were to evaluate the effect of a pragmatic educational program on tooth brushing skills of young schoolchildren.
Methods
The population consisted of 196 first grade children in Jerusalem. One dentist interviewed the children and evaluated base-line brushing skills, applying simple visual index, based on dividing the dentition to eight different segments. a trained hygienist then educated the children, emphasizing brushing skills. A simple "scrubbing" brushing method was taught for all dental surfaces. Four months later a second examination was conducted, applying same evaluation methods.
Results
At base-line 92% of the children had brushed the labial surfaces of front teeth, but only 8% brushed the inner surfaces of posterior teeth. Only 32% brushed occlusal surfaces. These levels significantly increased after four months: 98% now brushed the labial surfaces; 43% brushed inner surfaces of posterior teeth, 87% brushed occlusal surfaces (p < 0.001). The average number of dental "areas" brushed had increased (among the eight areas recorded) from 2.8 to 5.7 (p < 0.0001).
Conclusion
This method of behavioural instruction emphasized improvement of personal manual skills specifically for those areas of the dentition which demand most efforts in oral hygiene promotion. These results are of practical help in improving future health education programs by the health promotion team.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-8-4
PMCID: PMC2253522  PMID: 18237389
10.  Prevalence of oral pain and barriers to use of emergency oral care facilities among adult Tanzanians 
BMC Oral Health  2008;8:28.
Background
Oral pain has been the major cause of the attendances in the dental clinics in Tanzania. Some patients postpone seeing the dentist for as long as two to five days. This study determines the prevalence of oral pain and barriers to use of emergency oral care in Tanzania.
Methods
Questionnaire data were collected from 1,759 adult respondents aged 18 years and above. The study area covered six urban and eight rural study clusters, which had been selected using the WHO Pathfinder methodology. Chi-square tests and logistic regression analyses were performed to identify associations.
Results
Forty two percent of the respondents had utilized the oral health care facilities sometimes in their lifetime. About 59% of the respondents revealed that they had suffered from oral pain and/or discomfort within the twelve months that preceded the study, but only 26.5% of these had sought treatment from oral health care facilities. The reasons for not seeking emergency care were: lack of money to pay for treatment (27.9%); self medication (17.6%); respondents thinking that pain would disappear with time (15.7%); and lack of money to pay for transport to the dental clinic (15.0%). Older adults were more likely to report that they had experienced oral pain during the last 12 months than the younger adults (OR = 1.57, CI 1.07–1.57, P < 0.001). Respondents from rural areas were more likely report dental clinics far from home (OR = 5.31, CI = 2.09–13.54, P < 0.001); self medication at home (OR = 3.65, CI = 2.25–5.94, P < 0.001); and being treated by traditional healer (OR = 5.31, CI = 2.25–12.49, P < 0.001) as reasons for not seeking emergency care from the oral health care facilities than their counterparts from urban areas.
Conclusion
Oral pain and discomfort were prevalent among adult Tanzanians. Only a quarter of those who experienced oral pain or discomfort sought emergency oral care from oral health care facilities. Self medication was used as an alternative to using oral care facilities mainly by rural residents. Establishing oral care facilities in rural areas is recommended.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-8-28
PMCID: PMC2564914  PMID: 18822180
11.  Oral hygiene improvement: a pragmatic approach based upon risk and motivation levels 
BMC Oral Health  2008;8:31.
Good oral hygiene has always been the cornerstone of public and private dental health promotion. However, this has often been based upon incorrect assumptions. The public is not always willing and does not always need to change its oral health behavior to the same extent as that expected by the dental profession. The present commentary emphasizes the need to modify oral hygiene instruction according to specific risk and motivation levels. Dentistry needs to be flexible in accepting new evidence-based modalities of oral health promotion. Dentists, dental hygienists and the entire health care team need to accept that the traditional methods of oral health education are not always effective.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-8-31
PMCID: PMC2615421  PMID: 19014436
12.  Minimising barriers to dental care in older people 
BMC Oral Health  2008;8:7.
Background
Older people are increasingly retaining their natural teeth but at higher risk of oral disease with resultant impact on their quality of life. Socially deprived people are more at risk of oral disease and yet less likely to take up care. Health organisations in England and Wales are exploring new ways to commission and provide dental care services in general and for vulnerable groups in particular. This study was undertaken to investigate barriers to dental care perceived by older people in socially deprived inner city area where uptake of care was low and identify methods for minimising barriers in older people in support of oral health.
Methods
A qualitative dual-methodological approach, utilising both focus groups and individual interviews, was used in this research. Participants, older people and carers of older people, were recruited using purposive sampling through day centres and community groups in the inner city boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham in South London. A topic guide was utilised to guide qualitative data collection. Informants' views were recorded on tape and in field notes. The data were transcribed and analysed using Framework Methodology.
Results
Thirty-nine older people and/or their carers participated in focus groups. Active barriers to dental care in older people fell into five main categories: cost, fear, availability, accessibility and characteristics of the dentist. Lack of perception of a need for dental care was a common 'passive barrier' amongst denture wearers in particular. The cost of dental treatment, fear of care and perceived availability of dental services emerged to influence significantly dental attendance. Minimising barriers involves three levels of action to be taken: individual actions (such as persistence in finding available care following identification of need), system changes (including reducing costs, improving information, ensuring appropriate timing and location of care, and good patient management) and societal issues (such as reducing isolation and loneliness). Older people appeared to place greater significance on system and societal change than personal action.
Conclusion
Older people living within the community in an inner city area where NHS dental care is available face barriers to dental care. Improving access to care involves actions at individual, societal and system level. The latter includes appropriate management of older people by clinicians, policy change to address NHS charges; consideration of when, where and how dental care is provided; and clear information for older people and their carers on available local dental services, dental charges and care pathways.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-8-7
PMCID: PMC2335092  PMID: 18366785
13.  Malocclusion, psycho-social impacts and treatment need: A cross-sectional study of Tanzanian primary school-children 
BMC Oral Health  2008;8:14.
Background
studies on the relationship between children's malocclusion and its psycho-social impacts are so far largely unexplored in low-income countries. This study aimed to assess the prevalence of malocclusion, reported dental problems and dissatisfaction with dental appearance among primary school children in Tanzania. The relationship of dissatisfaction with socio-demographic characteristics, clinically defined malocclusion and psychosocial impacts of dental anomalies was investigated. Orthodontic treatment need was estimated using an integrated socio-dental approach.
Method
One thousand six hundred and one children (mean age 13 yr) attending primary schools in the districts of Kinondoni and Temeke completed face to face interviews and a full mouth clinical examination. The survey instrument was designed to measure a Kiswahili translated and culturally adapted Child Oral Impact on Daily Performance (Child-OIDP) frequency score, reported dental problems, dissatisfaction with dental appearance/function and socio-demographic characteristics.
Results
The prevalence of malocclusion varied from 0.9% (deep bite) to 22.5% (midline shift) with a total of 63.8% having at least one type of anomaly. Moderate proportions of children admitted dental problems; ranging from 7% (space position) to 20% (pain). The odds ratio of having problems with teeth position, spaces, pain and swallowing if having any malocclusion were, respectively 6.7, 3.9, 1.4 and 6.8. A total of 23.3% children were dissatisfied with dental appearance/function. Children dissatisfied with their dental appearance were less likely to be Temeke residents (OR = 0.5) and having parents of higher education (OR = 0.6) and more likely to reporting problem with teeth position (OR = 4.3) and having oral impacts (OR = 2.7). The socio-dental treatment need of 12% was five times lower than the normative need assessment of 63.8%.
Conclusion
Compared to the high prevalence of malocclusion, psycho social impacts and dissatisfaction with appearance/function was not frequent among Tanzanian schoolchildren. Subjects with malocclusion reported problems most frequently and malocclusion together with other psycho-social impact scores determined children's satisfaction with teeth appearance- and function.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-8-14
PMCID: PMC2413214  PMID: 18460198
14.  Inequalities in public water supply fluoridation in Brazil: An ecological study 
BMC Oral Health  2008;8:9.
Background
The literature is scarce on the social and geographic inequalities in the access to and implementation of the fluoridation of public water supplies. This study adds knowledge to the Brazilian experience of the chronic privation of water and wastewater policies, access to potable water and fluoridation in the country. Thus, the aim of this study was to verify possible inequalities in the population's access to fluoridated drinking water in 246 Brazilian municipalities.
Methods
The information on the process of water fluoridation in the municipalities and in the macro region in which each municipality is located was obtained from the national epidemiological survey which was concluded in 2003. The data relating to the human development index at municipal level (HDI-M) and access to mains water came from the Brazilian Human Development Atlas, whilst the size of the population was obtained from a governmental source. The Fisher exact test (P < 0.05) was employed to identify significant associations between the explanatory variables and their ability to predict the principal outcomes of interest to this study, namely the presence or absence of the water fluoridation process in the municipalities as well as the length of time during which this measure has been implemented. Linear regression was used to observe the associations between the relevant variables in a multivariate environment.
Results
The results clearly showed that there is a relationship between municipalities with larger populations, located in more socio-economically advantaged regions and with better HDI-M, and where fluoridation is both present and has been implemented for a longer period of time (started before 1990).
Conclusion
The findings suggest that the aim of treating water with fluoride may not be being adequately achieved, requiring more effective strategies so that access to this measure can be expanded equitably.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-8-9
PMCID: PMC2364615  PMID: 18402688
15.  Xylitol gummy bear snacks: a school-based randomized clinical trial 
BMC Oral Health  2008;8:20.
Background
Habitual consumption of xylitol reduces mutans streptococci (MS) levels but the effect on Lactobacillus spp. is less clear. Reduction is dependent on daily dose and frequency of consumption. For xylitol to be successfully used in prevention programs to reduce MS and prevent caries, effective xylitol delivery methods must be identified. This study examines the response of MS, specifically S. mutans/sobrinus and Lactobacillus spp., levels to xylitol delivered via gummy bears at optimal exposures.
Methods
Children, first to fifth grade (n = 154), from two elementary schools in rural Washington State, USA, were randomized to xylitol 15.6 g/day (X16, n = 53) or 11.7 g/day (X12, n = 49), or maltitol 44.7 g/day (M45, n = 52). Gummy bear snacks were pre-packaged in unit-doses, labeled with ID numbers, and distributed three times/day during school hours. No snacks were sent home. Plaque was sampled at baseline and six weeks and cultured on modified Mitis Salivarius agar for S. mutans/sobrinus and Rogosa SL agar for Lactobacillus spp. enumeration.
Results
There were no differences in S. mutans/sobrinus and Lactobacillus spp. levels in plaque between the groups at baseline. At six weeks, log10 S. mutans/sobrinus levels showed significant reductions for all groups (p = 0.0001): X16 = 1.13 (SD = 1.65); X12 = 0.89 (SD = 1.11); M45 = 0.91 (SD = 1.46). Reductions were not statistically different between groups. Results for Lactobacillus spp. were mixed. Group X16 and M45 showed 0.31 (SD = 2.35), and 0.52 (SD = 2.41) log10 reductions, respectively, while X12 showed a 0.11 (SD = 2.26) log10 increase. These changes were not significant. Post-study discussions with school staff indicated that it is feasible to implement an in-classroom gummy bear snack program. Parents are accepting and children willing to consume gummy bear snacks daily.
Conclusion
Reductions in S. mutans/sobrinus levels were observed after six weeks of gummy bear snack consumption containing xylitol at 11.7 or 15.6 g/day or maltitol at 44.7 g/day divided in three exposures. Lactobacillus spp. levels were essentially unchanged in all groups. These results suggest that a xylitol gummy bear snack may be an alternative to xylitol chewing gum for dental caries prevention. Positive results with high dose maltitol limit the validity of xylitol findings. A larger clinical trial is needed to confirm the xylitol results.
Trial registration
[ISRCTN63160504]
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-8-20
PMCID: PMC2527560  PMID: 18657266
16.  Cognitive vulnerability and dental fear 
BMC Oral Health  2008;8:2.
Background
The Cognitive Vulnerability Model proposes that perceptions of certain characteristics of a situation are critical determinants of fear. Although the model is applicable to all animal, natural environment and situational fears, it has not yet been applied specifically to dental fear. This study therefore aimed to examine the association between dental fear and perceptions of dental visits as uncontrollable, unpredictable and dangerous.
Methods
The study used a clustered, stratified national sample of Australians aged 15 years and over. All participants were asked in a telephone interview survey to indicate their level of dental fear. Participants who received an oral examination were subsequently provided with a self-complete questionnaire in which they rated their perceptions of uncontrollability, unpredictability and dangerousness associated with dental visiting.
Results
3937 participants were recruited. Each of the three vulnerability-related perceptions was strongly associated with the prevalence of high dental fear. In a logistic regression analysis, uncontrollability and dangerousness perceptions were significantly associated with high dental fear after controlling for age and sex. However, unpredictability perceptions did not have a statistically significant independent association with dental fear after controlling for all other variables.
Conclusion
Results are mostly consistent with the Cognitive Vulnerability Model of the etiology of fear, with perceptions of uncontrollability, unpredictability and dangerousness each showing a strong bivariate relationship with high dental fear prevalence. However, more extensive measures of vulnerability perceptions would be valuable in future investigations.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-8-2
PMCID: PMC2266729  PMID: 18218075
17.  Psychometric properties of Spanish-language adult dental fear measures 
BMC Oral Health  2008;8:15.
Background
It would be useful to have psychometrically-sound measures of dental fear for Hispanics, who comprise the largest ethnic minority in the United States. We report on the psychometric properties of Spanish-language versions of two common adult measures of dental fear (Modified Dental Anxiety Scale, MDAS; Dental Fear Survey, DFS), as well as a measure of fear of dental injections (Needle Survey, NS).
Methods
Spanish versions of the measures were administered to 213 adults attending Hispanic cultural festivals, 31 students (who took the questionnaire twice, for test-retest reliability), and 100 patients at a dental clinic. We also administered the questionnaire to 136 English-speaking adults at the Hispanic festivals and 58 English-speaking students at the same college where we recruited the Spanish-speaking students, to compare the performance of the English and Spanish measures in the same populations.
Results
The internal reliabilities of the Spanish MDAS ranged from 0.80 to 0.85. Values for the DFS ranged from 0.92 to 0.96, and values for the NS ranged from 0.92 to 0.94. The test-retest reliabilities (intra-class correlations) for the three measures were 0.69, 0.86, and 0.94 for the MDAS, DFS, and NS, respectively. The three measures showed moderate correlations with one another in all three samples, providing evidence for construct validity. Patients with higher scores on the measures were rated as being more anxious during dental procedures. Similar internal reliabilities and correlations were found in the English-version analyses. The test-retest values were also similar in the English students for the DFS and NS; however, the English test-retest value for the MDAS was better than that found in the Spanish students.
Conclusion
We found evidence for the internal reliability, construct validity, and criterion validity for the Spanish versions of the three measures, and evidence for the test-retest reliability of the Spanish versions of the DFS and NS.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-8-15
PMCID: PMC2391155  PMID: 18474102
18.  A surrogate method for comparison analysis of salivary concentrations of Xylitol-containing products 
BMC Oral Health  2008;8:5.
Background
Xylitol chewing gum has been shown to reduce Streptococcus mutans levels and decay. Two studies examined the presence and time course of salivary xylitol concentrations delivered via xylitol-containing pellet gum and compared them to other xylitol-containing products.
Methods
A within-subjects design was used for both studies. Study 1, adults (N = 15) received three xylitol-containing products (pellet gum (2.6 g), gummy bears (2.6 g), and commercially available stick gum (Koolerz, 3.0 g)); Study 2, a second group of adults (N = 15) received three xylitol-containing products (pellet gum, gummy bears, and a 33% xylitol syrup (2.67 g). For both studies subjects consumed one xylitol product per visit with a 7-day washout between each product. A standardized protocol was followed for each product visit. Product order was randomly determined at the initial visit. Saliva samples (0.5 mL to 1.0 mL) were collected at baseline and up to 10 time points (~16 min in length) after product consumption initiated. Concentration of xylitol in saliva samples was analyzed using high-performance liquid chromatography. Area under the curve (AUC) for determining the average xylitol concentration in saliva over the total sampling period was calculated for each product.
Results
In both studies all three xylitol products (Study 1: pellet gum, gummy bears, and stick gum; Study 2: pellet gum, gummy bears, and syrup) had similar time curves with two xylitol concentration peaks during the sampling period. Study 1 had its highest mean peaks at the 4 min sampling point while Study 2 had its highest mean peaks between 13 to 16 minutes. Salivary xylitol levels returned to baseline at about 18 minutes for all forms tested. Additionally, for both studies the total AUC for the xylitol products were similar compared to the pellet gum (Study 1: pellet gum – 51.3 μg.min/mL, gummy bears – 59.6 μg.min/mL, and stick gum – 46.4 μg.min/mL; Study 2: pellet gum – 63.0 μg.min/mL, gummy bears – 55.9 μg.min/mL, and syrup – 59.0 μg.min/mL).
Conclusion
The comparison method demonstrated high reliability and validity. In both studies other xylitol-containing products had time curves and mean xylitol concentration peaks similar to xylitol pellet gum suggesting this test may be a surrogate for longer studies comparing various products.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-8-5
PMCID: PMC2267452  PMID: 18267030
19.  Efficacy of AZM therapy in patients with gingival overgrowth induced by Cyclosporine A: a systematic review 
BMC Oral Health  2008;8:34.
Background
In daily clinical practice of a dental department it's common to find gingival overgrowth (GO) in periodontal patients under treatment with Cyclosporine A (CsA). The pathogenesis of GO and the mechanism of action of Azithromycin (AZM) are unclear. A systematic review was conducted in order to evaluate the efficacy of Azithromycin in patients with gingival overgrowth induced by assumption of Cyclosporine A.
Methods
A bibliographic search was performed using the online databases MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane Central of Register Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) in the time period between 1966 and September 2008.
Results
The literature search retrieved 24 articles; only 5 were Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs), published in English, fulfilled the inclusion criteria. A great heterogeneity between proposed treatments and outcomes was found, and this did not allow to conduct a quantitative meta-analysis. The systematic review revealed that a 5-day course of Azithromycin with Scaling and Root Planing reduces the degree of gingival overgrowth, while a 7-day course of metronidazole is only effective on concomitant bacterial over-infection.
Conclusion
Few RCTs on the efficacy of systemic antibiotic therapy in case of GO were found in the literature review. A systemic antibiotic therapy without plaque and calculus removal is not able to reduce gingival overgrowth. The great heterogeneity of diagnostic data and outcomes is due to the lack of precise diagnostic methods and protocols about GO. Future studies need to improve both diagnostic methods and tools and adequate classification aimed to determine a correct prognosis and an appropriate therapy for gingival overgrowth.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-8-34
PMCID: PMC2639548  PMID: 19087331
20.  Systematic review of the relation between smokeless tobacco and non-neoplastic oral diseases in Europe and the United States 
BMC Oral Health  2008;8:13.
Background
How smokeless tobacco contributes to non-neoplastic oral diseases is unclear. It certainly increases risk of oral mucosal lesions, but reviewers disagree as to other conditions. In some areas, especially South-East Asia, risk is difficult to quantify due to the many products, compositions (including non-tobacco ingredients), and usage practices involved. This review considers studies from Europe (in practice mainly Scandinavia) and from the USA.
Methods
Experimental and epidemiological studies published in 1963–2007 were identified that related risk of oral lesions to smokeless tobacco use. Data were assessed separately for oral mucosal lesions, periodontal and gingival diseases, dental caries and tooth loss, and oral pain.
Results
Oral mucosal lesions: Thirty-three epidemiological studies consistently show a strong dose-related effect of current snuff on oral mucosal lesion prevalence. In Scandinavia, users have a near 100% prevalence of a characteristic "snuff-induced lesion", but prevalence of the varied lesions reported in the USA is lower. Associations with chewing tobacco are weaker. The lack of clear association with former use suggests reversibility following cessation, consistent with experimental studies showing rapid lesion regression on quitting.
Periodontal and gingival diseases: Two of four studies report a significant association of snuff with attachment loss and four out of eight with gingival recession. Snuff is not clearly related to gingivitis or periodontal diseases. Limited evidence suggests chewing tobacco is unrelated to periodontal or gingival diseases.
Tooth loss: Swedish studies show no association with snuff, but one US study reported an association with snuff, and another with chewing tobacco.
Dental caries: Evidence from nine studies suggests a possible relationship with use of smokeless tobacco, particularly chewing tobacco, and the risk of dental caries.
Oral pain: Limited evidence precludes any clear conclusion.
Conclusion
This review confirms the strong association of current use of smokeless tobacco, particularly snuff, with prevalence of oral mucosal lesions. It provides suggestive evidence of an association of snuff use with gingival recession and attachment loss, and of chewing tobacco with dental caries. While smokeless tobacco clearly increases risk of oral mucosal lesions, interpretation for other endpoints is limited by study weaknesses, including poor confounding control.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-8-13
PMCID: PMC2390522  PMID: 18452601
21.  Dental general anaesthetic receipt among Australians aged 15+ years, 1998–1999 to 2004–2005 
BMC Oral Health  2008;8:10.
Background
Adults receive dental general anaesthetic (DGA) care when standard dental treatment is not possible. Receipt of DGA care is resource-intensive and not without risk. This study explores DGA receipt among 15+-year-old Australians by a range of risk indicators.
Methods
DGA data were obtained from Australia's Hospital Morbidity Database from 1998–1999 to 2004–2005. Poisson regression modeling was used to examine DGA rates in relation to age, sex, Indigenous status, location and procedure.
Results
The overall DGA rate was 472.79 per 100,000 (95% CI 471.50–474.09). Treatment of impacted teeth (63.7%) was the most common reason for DGA receipt, followed by dental caries treatment (12.4%), although marked variations were seen by age-group. After adjusting for other covariates, DGA rates among 15–19-year-olds were 13.20 (95% CI 12.65–13.78) times higher than their 85+-year-old counterparts. Females had 1.46 (95% CI 1.45–1.47) times the rate of their male counterparts, while those living in rural/remote areas had 2.70 (95% CI 2.68–2.72) times the rate of metropolitan-dwellers. DGA rates for non-Indigenous persons were 4.88 (95% CI 4.73–5.03) times those of Indigenous persons. The DGA rate for 1+ extractions was 461.9 per 100,000 (95% CI 460.6–463.2), compared with a rate of 23.6 per 100,000 (95% CI 23.3–23.9) for 1+ restorations.
Conclusion
Nearly two-thirds of DGAs were for treatment of impacted teeth. Persons aged 15–19 years were disproportionately represented among those receiving DGA care, along with females, rural/remote-dwellers and those identifying as non-Indigenous. More research is required to better understand the public health implications of DGA care among 15+-year-olds, and how the demand for receipt of such care might be reduced.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-8-10
PMCID: PMC2329614  PMID: 18402707
22.  Overuse of non-prescription analgesics by dental clinic patients 
BMC Oral Health  2008;8:33.
Background
Many patients present to dental clinics for treatment of painful conditions. Prior to seeking treatment, many of these patients will self-medicate with non-prescription analgesics (NPA), and some will unintentionally overdose on these products. The objective of this study is to describe the use of NPA among dental patients.
Methods
All adult patients presenting to an urban dental clinic during a two-week period in January and February of 2001 were approached to participate in this research project. Trained research assistants using a standardized questionnaire interviewed patients. Patient demographics and the NPA usage over the 3 days preceding the office visit were recorded. We defined a supra-therapeutic dose as any dose greater than the total recommended daily dose stated on package labeling.
Results
We approached 194 patients and 127 participated. The mean age of participants was 35.5 years, 52% were male. Analgesic use preceding the visit was reported by 99 of 127 patients, and most (81/99) used a NPA exclusively. Fifty-four percent of NPA users were taking more than one NPA. NPA users reported using ibuprofen (37%), acetaminophen (27%), acetaminophen/aspirin combination product (8%), naproxen (8%), and aspirin (4%). Sixteen patients reported supra-therapeutic use of one or more NPA (some ingested multiple products): ibuprofen (14), acetaminophen (3), and naproxen (5).
Conclusion
NPA use was common in patients presenting to a dental clinic. A significant minority of patients reported excessive dosing of NPA. Ibuprofen was the most frequently misused product, followed by naproxen and acetaminophen. Though mostly aware of the potential toxicity of NPA, many patients used supra-therapeutic dosages.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-8-33
PMCID: PMC2632620  PMID: 19068122
23.  Influence of bone density on implant stability parameters and implant success: a retrospective clinical study 
BMC Oral Health  2008;8:32.
Background
The aim of the present clinical study was to determine the local bone density in dental implant recipient sites using computerized tomography (CT) and to investigate the influence of local bone density on implant stability parameters and implant success.
Methods
A total of 300 implants were placed in 111 patients between 2003 and 2005. The bone density in each implant recipient site was determined using CT. Insertion torque and resonance frequency analysis were used as implant stability parameters. The peak insertion torque values were recorded with OsseoCare machine. The resonance frequency analysis measurements were performed with Osstell instrument immediately after implant placement, 6, and 12 months later.
Results
Of 300 implants placed, 20 were lost, meaning a survival rate of %. 93.3 after three years (average 3.7 ± 0.7 years). The mean bone density, insertion torque and RFA recordings of all 300 implants were 620 ± 251 HU, 36.1 ± 8 Ncm, and 65.7 ± 9 ISQ at implant placement respectively; which indicated statistically significant correlations between bone density and insertion torque values (p < 0.001), bone density and ISQ values (p < 0.001), and insertion torque and ISQ values (p < 0.001). The mean bone density, insertion torque and RFA values were 645 ± 240 HU, 37.2 ± 7 Ncm, and 67.1 ± 7 ISQ for 280 successful implants at implant placement, while corresponding values were 267 ± 47 HU, 21.8 ± 4 Ncm, and 46.5 ± 4 ISQ for 20 failed implants; which indicated statistically significant differences for each parameter (p < 0.001).
Conclusion
CT is a useful tool to determine the bone density in the implant recipient sites, and the local bone density has a prevailing influence on primary implant stability, which is an important determinant for implant success.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-8-32
PMCID: PMC2614413  PMID: 19025637
24.  Psychometric properties of Greek versions of the Modified Corah Dental Anxiety Scale (MDAS) and the Dental Fear Survey (DFS) 
BMC Oral Health  2008;8:29.
Background
A growing body of literature describes the performance of dental fear questionnaires in various countries. We describe the psychometric properties of Greek versions of the Modified Dental Anxiety Scale (MDAS) and the Dental Fear Survey (DFS) in adult Greek patients.
Methods
Greek versions of the MDAS and DFS were administered to two samples of adult dental patients. In the first sample, 195 patients attending one of three private practice dental offices in a large city in Greece completed the questionnaires in the waiting room before dental treatment. After treatment, their dentists (who did not know how the patients had answered the questionnaire) rated their anxiety during dental treatment. In the second sample, 41 patients attending a Greek university dental school clinic completed the questionnaire twice at two separate visits, in order to provide test-retest data. Cronbach's alpha was used to compute the internal consistencies, while Spearman's rho was used to compute the test-retest reliabilities. Construct validity was assessed by correlating the responses to the MDAS and DFS by Spearman's rho. Spearman's rho was also used to examine the criterion validities, by comparing the questionnaire responses with the dentists' ratings of anxiety.
Results
The internal consistencies for the MDAS were 0.90 and 0.92 in the two samples; for the DFS, the internal consistencies were 0.96 in both samples. The test-retest reliabilities were 0.94 for the MDAS and 0.95 for the DFS. The correlation between the two questionnaires was 0.89. The patients' responses to both questionnaires were significantly related to the dentists' ratings of their anxiety during dental treatment (both p values <0.001).
Conclusion
The results indicate that the Greek versions of the MDAS and DFS have good internal consistencies and test-retest reliabilities, as well as good construct and criterion validities. The psychometric properties of the Greek versions of these questionnaires appear to be similar to those previously reported in other countries.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-8-29
PMCID: PMC2571087  PMID: 18826612
25.  The methodological quality of systematic reviews comparing temporomandibular joint disorder surgical and non-surgical treatment 
BMC Oral Health  2008;8:27.
Background
Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJD) are multifactor, complex clinical problems affecting approximately 60–70% of the general population, with considerable controversy about the most effective treatment. For example, reports claim success rates of 70% and 83% for non-surgical and surgical treatment, whereas other reports claim success rates of 40% to 70% for self-improvement without treatment. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to (1) identify systematic reviews comparing temporomandibular joint disorder surgical and non-surgical treatment, (2) evaluate their methodological quality, and (3) evaluate the evidence grade within the systematic reviews.
Methods
A search strategy was developed and implemented for MEDLINE, Cochrane Library, LILACS, and Brazilian Dentistry Bibliography databases. Inclusion criteria were: systematic reviews (± meta-analysis) comparing surgical and non-surgical TMJD treatment, published in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, or German between the years 1966 and 2007(up to July). Exclusion criteria were: in vitro or animal studies; narrative reviews or editorials or editorial letters; and articles published in other languages. Two investigators independently selected and evaluated systematic reviews. Three different instruments (AMSTAR, OQAQ and CASP) were used to evaluate methodological quality, and the results averaged. The GRADE instrument was used to evaluate the evidence grade within the reviews.
Results
The search strategy identified 211 reports; of which 2 were systematic reviews meeting inclusion criteria. The first review met 23.5 ± 6.0% and the second met 77.5 ± 12.8% of the methodological quality criteria (mean ± sd). In these systematic reviews between 9 and 15% of the trials were graded as high quality, and 2 and 8% of the total number of patients were involved in these studies.
Conclusion
The results indicate that in spite of the widespread impact of TMJD, and the multitude of potential interventions, clinicians have expended sparse attention to systematically implementing clinical trial methodology that would improve validity and reliability of outcome measures. With some 20 years of knowledge of evidence-based healthcare, the meager attention to these issues begins to raise ethical issues about TMJD trial conduct and clinical care.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-8-27
PMCID: PMC2576167  PMID: 18822118

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