Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the validity of self-reported periodontal measures among nondentist health professionals. Valid self-reported measures could provide a time- and cost-efficient alternative for large epidemiologic studies.
Methods: A subsample of 212 male nondentists sampled on the basis of their reported periodontal severity from the Health Professional Follow-up Study (HPFS) provided dental radiographs and completed questionnaires assessing self-reported oral health. Alveolar bone loss was evaluated from the radiographs at 32 posterior sites and used as the standard measure of cumulative periodontal disease.
Results: The self-reported ordinal periodontal measure had a linear relationship with mean radiographic bone loss (r = .61). The positive and negative predictive values of the dichotomized self-reported periodontal measures were 83 percent and 69 percent. Self-reported history of periodontal surgery was also a good surrogate for bone loss (predictive value positive 78 percent and negative 71 percent).
Conclusions: Self-reports can provide discrimination and ranking information of cumulative periodontal disease among health professionals and can be used to provide valid results in etiologic studies in health professionals' populations.