Has Dental Caries Prevalence Some Connection with Caries Index Values in Adults?

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Abstract

DMF index values have been used for 70 years and were originally meant to describe both dental status and treatment need in elementary school children. Since then its application to caries experience and severity determination has expanded. Today, WHO has standardized its use in oral health surveys in describing past and present caries experience in adults and the elderly as well. This expansion to all age cohorts creates some problems if the index is limited to dental caries, which can be easily avoided when individual values are not combined. This has been performed in some of the 7,187 DMF index publications included in PubMed. The high number of scientific articles using this index underlines its leading role in the present epidemiological caries research. On the other hand, WHO uses different determinations for clinical dental caries and missing teeth in ICD-10, the 10th revision of International Classification of Diseases, which does not include dental restorations. Combining the individual parameters of Oral Health Surveys and diseases of ICD-10, and analyzing the mean value of each parameter separately, will give a precise picture of dental health at different ages.

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