Epidemiology: Oral Epidemiology in Clinical Practice

Studies conducted in the field of oral epidemiology provide information on normal biological processes and on diseases of the oral cavity, identify populations at risk of oral disease or in need of specific care, and compare regional, environmental, social, and access similarities and differences in dental care between populations.2 Oral epidemiology also tests preventive interventions for controlling disease and evaluates the effectiveness and quality of interventions and oral health programs.2

To understand epidemiology, it is important to understand the definitions of the following terms:

Prevalence: This is the proportion of individuals with disease (cases) in a population at a specific point in time.2

Incidence: This is the number or proportion of individuals in a population who experience new disease during a specific time period.2

Trends: These are the changes or differences in the prevalence or incidence of disease with respect to time, location, or socioeconomics.2