Background: There exists a diverse range of criteria used in epidemiological studies for the diagnosis of periodontitis. The results from these studies should be evaluated with consideration to the diagnostic criteria used, and this may account for differences between studies especially in some population groups such as pregnant females. The objective is to evaluate the diagnostic criteria used in a variety of epidemiologic studies of periodontitis in pregnant females. Method: An accuracy study with cross-sectional design was performed out from a database of 671 pregnant females, using six different sets of criteria for the diagnosis of periodontitis. Women were classified for periodontitis, as follows: Center for Disease Control and Prevention/American Academy of Periodontology (CDC/AAP, 2012 criterion), the gold standard, Gomes-Filho et al.(2018) criterion, Albandar et al.(2007) criterion, Bassani et al.(2007) criterion, López et al.(2002) criterion, and Nesse et al.(2008) criterion. For comparison amongst the gold standard and the other criteria, sensitivity, specificity, predictive values, and likelihood ratio were determined. Results: The frequency of periodontitis ranged from 25.0% to 90.2%. The Bassani et al. (2007) criterion was found to be more sensitive among the studies, and thus more suitable for diagnostic screening studies. Gomes-Filho et al.(2018), Albandar et al. (2007), López et al. (2002), and Nesse et al. (2008) criteria were considered more specific, which makes them more useful for studies of periodontitis with the aim of using diagnosis for confirmation of disease. Conclusions: A variation in the occurrence of periodontitis was observed. The criterion must be chosen according to the research aims and population characteristics.
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