Objective: To assess the quality of the reporting of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in dental public health journals.
Method: Electronic and hand searches were used to search for RCTs published in the following three journals over the period 1993 - 2008: Community Dental Health, Community Dentistry & Oral Epidemiology and the Journal of Public Health Dentistry. Exclusion criteria were applied. Each of the resulting papers was reviewed and scored, according to 56 criteria, based on the CONSORT statement.
Results: The search identified 48 papers. The average number of criteria present per article was 27.0 (SD = 6.9), with variation between journals as follows: Community Dental Health (27.7); Community Dentistry & Oral Epidemiology (27.4); Journal of Public Health Dentistry (23.2). The average number of criteria present per article increased over the time period used.
Conclusion: There were inadequacies in the reporting of trials in dental public health journals. The quality of the reporting could be improved if the CONSORT statement was followed more closely.