Average area under the curve: An alternative method for quantifying the dental caries experience in longitudinal studies

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Longitudinal data were obtained from high‐caries danger (i.e. bad, rural, African American community in Perry County, Alabama) babies, 8 to 18 months . Five yearly visual examinations and baseline supplied dmfs scores. Increments were comprised by differences in final and baseline dmfs scores. The trapezoidal rule was employed to dmfs trajectories to compute AUC values which were corrected for varying follow‐up times, making dmfsaAUC values. Participants sharing incremental or dmfsaAUC values needed their trajectories and second caries measurements in comparison. Comparative analyses required full follow‐up.
When desired, dmfsaAUC may substitute increments as a more data‐inclusive overview of longitudinal caries weight loss, including intermediate visits, unfinished follow‐up plus time.
The dmfsaAUC provided forty‐eight further person‐years, raising the potential sample size by 20 percent (N = 85). Sixty‐six kids, 5.7 to 6.3 year‐olds at study’s end, contributed 121 331 person‐days to five‐year increment and dmfsaAUC calculations. Trajectories and dmfsaAUC values varied for participants with equivalent increments; similar trajectories and various increments led to participants with comparable dmfsaAUC values. Within‐participant disease levels were alike.


Repeated dmfs scores complicate sophisticated statistical models, limiting their utility. Elsewhere, that a rea un nder the curve (AUC) uses all repeated steps to summarize data. This study implemented AUC methodology to caries information, creating average AUCtherefore for dmfs trajectories (dmfsaAUC) and comparing dmfs and dmfsaAUC values.


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