Intended for healthcare professionals


How often should we go to the dentist?

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 06 November 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:1269

Editorial gave incorrect source of data

  1. Martin C Downer, emeritus professor (
  1. Eastman Dental Institute, London WC1X 8LD
  2. Finnish Broadcasting Company, BOX 80, 00024 YLE, Helsinki, Finland
  3. Turner Dental School, University of Manchester, Manchester M15 6FH

    EDITOR—I congratulate Kay on her succinct appraisal of the issues surrounding the question of the optimum interval between dental check ups.1 I fully endorse all her arguments and conclusions, but the editorial contains one specific error, which I wish to draw to readers' attention.

    Kay cites a published abstract by my colleague Moles referring to work by our group on the identification of optimal recall intervals for bitewing radiography based on a computer simulation.2 She states that the data on rates of progression of dental caries used by Moles in our computer model were derived from a study by her and coworkers.3 In fact this is not the case.

    All the input data used in our computer simulations of the caries process over time, and sensitivity analyses of treatment outcomes under different sets of conditions, were obtained from original field research by Moles and myself, alone or in collaboration with others As regards rates of progression of caries, for example, we were interested not only in the progress of existing carious lesions in …

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