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Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 1998 Oct;26(5):303-9.

Comparison between the DMF indices and two alternative composite indicators of dental health.

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Department of Preventive Medicine, Montreal University, Quebec, Canada.


The DMFT and DMFS indices employed in the majority of oral epidemiological studies have several limitations. In response to this problem, Sheiham et al. (Community Dent Health 1987;4:407-14) proposed two alternative dental health indicators: the number of functioning teeth (hereafter referred to as FS-T) and tissue health (T-Health). Using data from an epidemiological study on the dental health status of adults aged 35-44 from Quebec (N=2110), this article compares the alternative indices with the conventional DMFT and DMFS indices. By comparing Pearson's correlation coefficient for the four indices in this study with the number of decayed, missing and filled surfaces, it is noted that the FS-T index bears the strongest correlation to the three variables. It is also the only index whose correlation coefficient is greater than 0.3 for each of the three DMFS components. A risk group was created for each index, composed of the 18% of people demonstrating the poorest index. The risk group's FS-T index results in an average of 4.3 decayed surfaces (compared with 2.6 for the DMFT), 92.7 missing surfaces (74.4 for the DMFT) and 9.0 filled surfaces (compared with 26.9 for the DMFT). Using linear regression analysis with each index as a dependent variable, and people's socio-demographic characteristics, regular use of dental services and perception of dental health as independent variables, it appears that the percentage of the explained variance (R2) is 21.2% for the FS-T index, 13.8% for the T-Health index, 12.3% for the DMFS index and only 7.6% for the DMFT index.

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