The possibility of previous epidemiological data to serve as baseline for future national oral health surveys — a study in Vietnam


WHO Collaborating Centre for Oral Health Care Planning and future Scenarios, P.O. Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Email:


Aim: The purpose of this paper is to review the most recent epidemiological data (1985–2000) on dental caries and periodontal diseases in Vietnam in an attempt to obtain a ‘baseline’ for future national oral health surveys.

Methods: Studies on periodontal diseases and caries were included when CPITN and WHO caries criteria had been applied and when the sample size was at least n=200 for each age group.

Results: Almost all subjects had calculus. The median number of sextants with calculus in the 15–19-year- and in the 35–44-year-olds was 4.2 and 5.0, respectively. Only 2–7% of the 35–44-year-olds had one or more deep periodontal pockets. The estimated DMFT of the 12-, 15- and 35–44-year-olds was 1.8, 2.0 and 5.4, respectively, in the years around 1990.

Conclusion: This review shows that (often neglected) epidemiological studies from the past on caries and periodontal diseases can contain comprehensive data sets that provide an estimate of the past oral health status which may serve as a baseline for future national surveys.