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Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 2002 Oct;30(5):352-62.

A prospective study of the validity of data on self-reported dental visits.

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  • 1Department of Diagnostic Sciences, School of Dentistry, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL, USA.



To measure the validity of self-reported dental visits from a diverse sample of adults.


The Florida Dental Care Study was a longitudinal cohort study of a diverse sample of residents of north Florida, USA. In-person interviews and dental examinations were conducted at baseline, 24 and 48 months after baseline, with half-yearly telephone interviews in between. Dental record information was abstracted afterward.


Agreement between self-report and dental record at each half-yearly interview ranged from 84 to 91%. Validity did not differ between persons of key sociodemographic groups (sex, race, age group, rural/urban residence, poverty status, level of formal education, or problem-oriented/regular approach to dental care). In a single bivariate multiple logistic regression (two outcomes: (i) self-reported use; and (ii) use measured from the dental chart), odds ratio estimates over-lapped for each of the 20 predictors.


Validity of self-reported dental care use was good. There would have been few differences in conclusions made about predictors of dental care use had chart data been available earlier.

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