Methodological approaches for investigating links between dental and chronic diseases with claims data: A scoping study

J Public Health Dent. 2019 Dec;79(4):334-342. doi: 10.1111/jphd.12335. Epub 2019 Aug 16.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to provide an overview of methodological approaches to assess the relationship between dental diseases and other noncommunicable diseases on the basis of claims data.

Methods: Based on the methodological framework of Arksey and O'Malley, a scoping study was conducted. By searching electronic databases (PubMed, Web of Science, and LILACS), appropriate articles were identified. After extracting relevant information and entering it into a data-charting form, the study characteristics and the methodological approaches were summarized descriptively.

Results: Fifty-one articles were identified for inclusion in the analysis. Most of the selected studies (78 percent) originated from Taiwan and employed a cohort design. The majority of studies considered dental diseases, particularly periodontal disease (PD) measures, but no common standard was identified for the definition of PD. Unmeasured confounding, misclassification, and surveillance bias were reported to be the main limitations of the claims data analyses.

Conclusions: Claims data provide a very useful information source to further delineate the relationship between PDs and other noncommunicable diseases. If diagnostic codes are available, they seem to be the most suitable tool to assess PD in claims-based studies. In databases that do not contain dental diagnostic codes, e.g., databases in Germany and the United States, the identification of PD is a particular challenge. The inclusion of dental diagnostic codes in all claims databases is strongly recommended. Due to the public health relevance of PD, there is a need for more comprehensive documentation of dental parameters within claims data.

Keywords: claims data; dental diseases; dental records; noncommunicable diseases; periodontal diseases; review; scoping study.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Stomatognathic Diseases*
  • Taiwan