Is modelling dental caries a "normal" thing to do?

Lewsey, J. , Gilthorpe, M.S., Bulman, J.S. and Bedi, R. (2000) Is modelling dental caries a "normal" thing to do? Community Dental Health, 17(4), pp. 212-217.

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OBJECTIVE: To introduce and encourage the use of generalised linear models (GLMs) in analysing caries data that do not require the response to be treated necessarily as a sample from a normal distribution.

BASIC RESEARCH DESIGN: At the present time, it is most likely that the sampling distribution of dmf/DMF in industrialised countries will not approximate normality. Generalised linear modelling can be conducted assuming many underlying distributions which, in fact, includes the normal distribution. In this paper three GLMs are employed (normal, Poisson, negative binomial) for modelling an example caries data set. In addition, a binomial model is used to model the dichotomous outcome of caries-free/caries-present.

CLINICAL SETTING: The data comprised 871 Old Trafford, Manchester primary school children aged between 4 years 0 months and 5 years 11 months.

RESULTS: The effect of one study covariate was prominent in a normal model applied to all available dmf data but not in two non-normal models which used dmf > 0 data only. Furthermore, the same covariate was significant at the 5% level in a binomial model indicating that it influenced whether or not caries was present and not the level of dmf.

CONCLUSION: A suitable modelling approach for caries data is to employ a Poisson or a negative binomial model for the dmf/DMF response and a binomial model for the caries-free/caries-present outcome. This allows separate estimation of those factors which influence the magnitude of caries and those factors which influence whether caries is actually present or not.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Lewsey, Professor James
Authors: Lewsey, J., Gilthorpe, M.S., Bulman, J.S., and Bedi, R.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Health Economics and Health Technology Assessment
Journal Name:Community Dental Health
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