Adelaidean - News from the University of Adelaide The University of Adelaide Australia
August 2009 Issue
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Oral health centre opens up on disease


Australia's premier research centre for all aspects of oral health will be established at the University of Adelaide thanks to a $2.4 million Federal Government grant.

The new Centre of Clinical Research Excellence (CCRE) for Oral Health - part of the University's School of Dentistry - is being funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

The CCRE Oral Health is the first research centre of its kind in Australia to focus on all aspects of oral health research and its relationship with the broader health problems that are made worse by poor oral health.

"The centre brings together a broad range of researchers with the aim of leading improvements in health outcomes for the community," said Professor Mark Bartold, Co-Director of the new centre.

"Past research has focused on dental treatments to repair the damage caused by decay and periodontal disease, as well as the prevention of such diseases. But there has been a lack of research on the role of dental health in people's overall well-being. A key focus for this new centre will be to investigate the interaction between systemic health and oral disease.

"By researching oral health treatments that assist in the management of other diseases, we want to help patients as a whole. In this way, oral health treatments will be able to contribute to the management of patients' other general health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, pulmonary/respiratory disease, diabetes and arthritis, which are all exacerbated by poor oral health," he said.

Other key research areas for the CCRE Oral Health include:

  • Parental guidance and long-term oral health;
  • Improving dental treatment in Aboriginal children;
  • Genetic factors in dental development disorders;
  • Predicting and reducing mucosal toxicity during chemotherapy;
  • Use of stem cells in periodontal regeneration.

Professor Bartold said the CCRE would also have major benefits for students and early career researchers.

"With this new centre, we now have the opportunity to engage more PhD students and postdoctoral fellows in our work. This will be significant both in terms of postgraduate training as well as significantly increasing our research output," Professor Bartold said.

Story by David Ellis

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