DIS is a clinical survey conducted annually by Ontario public health units on the oral health status of a random sample of children ages 5 and 9 or 7 and 13 years of age who attend schools with more than 50 students. Children who are absent from school on the day of the DIS, schooled at home or who refuse are excluded.
The objectives of the survey are to determine the prevalence of dental disease and the need for preventive and treatment services. In addition, the information collected supports program planning and evaluation, and identifies the "at risk" segments of the surveyed population.
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit data are obtained from the health unit's local DIS database.
Provincial DIS data have not been disseminated consistently. Initially, DIS data collected by public health units were sent to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) for analyses. Each public health unit received a standard report summarizing the findings of the survey for their health unit area and for the province. The provincial DIS data for 5 year olds from 1972-1993 are summarized in a MOHLTC report called Public Health and Epidemiology Report Ontario (PHERO): 1996:355-358.
In 1993, the MOHLTC provided more direction on the sampling methods in order to have consistency across Ontario. Survey procedures changed in 1997. The Mandatory Health Programs and Services Guidelines required that health units conduct the DIS in accordance with the DIS Protocol. The Protocol specified that the DIS be done for children in the 5, 7, 9 and 13 year age groups and that the collection of data on 5 and 9 year olds alternate with that of 7 and 13 year olds each year. The 1997 protocols have been changed in the new Ontario Public Health Standards that went into effect on January 1, 2009.
Provincial DIS data from 2003-present were found in a report published by the Ontario Association of Public Health Dentistry (OAPHD).