Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia
Print version ISSN 1415-790X
OLIVEIRA, Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli da Costa et al. Epidemiological study in oral health: analysis of the methodology proposed by World Health Organization. Rev. bras. epidemiol. [online]. 1998, vol.1, n.2, pp. 177-189. ISSN 1415-790X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1415-790X1998000200008.
Epidemiological surveys are important for obtaining information on the prevalence and etiology of mouth diseases, since the data collected permit health actions to be planned, performed, and assessed. Methodological uniformity is necessary, however, to maintain reproductibility, validity, and reliability, and to allow national and international comparisons. The initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO) as an advisor in ongoing surveys has been extremely useful, stimulating standardization in all countries. In 1991, a Portuguese version of the 1987 third edition of "Oral Health Surveys - basic methods", an instruction manual for performing epidemiological surveys, was published and became a reference for many parts of Brazil and the World. The present analysis found conflicting points in relation to the sample size, calibration of the examiners, and criteria for evaluating oral health and treatment needs. In conclusion, due to the dynamic characteristics of scientific knowledge and, considering the regional differences in relation to the development of oral diseases, we recommend that proposals for standardizing surveys be checked periodically. Other important issues may have not been detected in this analysis, urging a thorough discussion within the dentistry community as a whole.
Keywords : Epidemiology; Public health dentistry; Epidemiologic methods; Calibration; Sample studies; Data collection.