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Epidemiology and Surveillance Essay

Scott L Tomar, a profession at the University of Florida describes public health surveillance as the ongoing systematic collection, analysis, interpretation and dissemination of data regarding a health-related event for the use in public health action (Tomar, 2007). The information collected from surveillance is implemented in planning, evaluating and to put together research hypothesis (Tomar, 2007). He explains that this surveillance contributes and aids in the decrease of not only morbidity and mortality, but also the supervision in health improvement.

Surveillance is a component of communication and organization for monitoring and preventing diseases and illnesses. The United States does not have a surveillance program in place for periodontal disease. It is not being monitored state, country wide or even locally. These systems have been used for decades for other diseases; fortunately periodontal surveillance is just in its beginning stages. The Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors and the centers for disease control and Prevention’s Division of Oral Health created the NOHSS, National Oral Health Surveillance systems.

This program assists in monitoring and determining the responsibility and/or consequence of oral diseases, delivery system and the water fluoridation at state and national levels. NOHSS also has implemented signs to look for in the surveillances which are, adult dental visits, tooth cleaning, tooth loss, fluoridation status, child caries experience, child untreated caries, dental sealants and cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx (Tomar, 2007).

The risk factors for periodontal disease according to the NIDCR, National Institute of Dental Craniofacial Research are smoking, hormonal changes in girls and women, diabetes, diseases of cancer or aids and their treatments, medications, and genetic susceptibility. If these factors would be monitored and put into a data base this desased can be prevented or treated more accurately. It would minimize the adverse affects or health risks it can cause to the population. Surveillance can measure what is orally, to be more exact periodontal with the population.

The future of the treatment and prevention of this disease can benefit from search and awareness of the problem. Surveillance can obviously help reach this goal. Once all the factors, information and data are collected and analyzed by the surveillance dentist, hygienist and oral surgeons can be more informed and educated about this growing problem. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has partnered with the American Academy of Periodontoly to initiate the CDC Periodontal Disease Surveillance Project.

This project concentrates on population-based surveillance at all levels. Surveillance has improved tremendously and has developed valid self-reported This initiative has made significant advancements toward the goal of improved surveillance, including developing valid self-reported measures that can be obtained from interview-based surveys to predict prevalence of periodontal issues in populations. The project’s goal is to confirm and find validity These eight questions will be field tested in the United States population in two phases.

As noted in the article, a pilot will use a small convenience sample of United States subjects to lay the groundwork and justify further testing of these questions in a national survey. The key objective of this pilot phase will be as follows: 1) to confirm that these questions, or a subset of them, have sufficient validity for predicting periodontitis in this sample of the United States population; 2) to determine whether non-response rates to these questions differ among racial/ethnic groups; and 3) to assess the logistical aspects of conducting the pilot.

I am a firm believer that surveillance should be used on many aspects of public health. Your health is determined not only by your own genetics and personal choices, but also by the environment around you. We all strive to live long, healthy lives and where we live, work and play affects our health. If you care about your health, the length and quality of your life, and the health and lives of your friends and family, then you should care about public health and the one week out of the year dedicated to bettering the lives of you and your surroundings. Surveillance makes it easier to view ones surroundings.


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