Oral health of the nation to be assessed in new study

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Thousands of people across Australia will take part in dental interviews and free dental examinations as part of a $5.8 million University of Adelaide national oral health study.

To be conducted by the Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health (ARCPOH) in the University’s School of Dentistry, in partnership with national and state departments of health and dental services, the study will assess the level of oral diseases in the Australian adult population, and the effectiveness, sustainability and equity of dental service delivery across the country.

The National Study of Adult Oral Health 2016-2018 is being funded under a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Partnerships for Better Health grant, with additional funding and in-kind support from partners, including the Australian Government Department of Health and state and territory health departments and dental services. Further support has also been received from the Australian Dental Association and Colgate.

“Oral diseases are among the four most expensive disease groups to treat and highly prevalent among adult Australians, particularly among those who can least afford treatment,” says chief investigator Professor Marco Peres, Professor of Population Oral Health at the University of Adelaide and Director of ARCPOH.

“Oral disease compromises both general health and quality of life, but the high cost of dental care, unlike general medical care, is largely borne by the individual. This makes it almost unattainable for disadvantaged groups in society. We must establish how best to deliver dental healthcare that is effective and equitable for the whole adult population.”

About 15,000 people will be interviewed by telephone about their dental service use, service-mix, oral health behaviours, socioeconomic conditions and other determinants of oral health. They will be invited to have a dental examination to assess their dental health.

Researchers will also track the 5500 participants from a previous national study 10 years ago (the National Survey of Adult Oral Health 2004-2006), also conducted by ARCPOH. In total, about 10,000 dental examinations are expected.

“This is the first nationwide oral health study that’s incorporated both changes over time and contemporary factors impacting dental health (therefore both longitudinal and cross-sectional components),” says Professor Peres. “That will provide us with high-level scientific evidence on the burden of oral disease in Australia, its impact in the last decade and a prediction for 2020-2030.

“This study will inform policy-makers and service providers who need to make decisions about the delivery of fair and effective dental services for all Australians over the next decade and more.”

The University of Adelaide also has been awarded a special NHMRC grant of $975,882 to enable Aboriginal maternal and infant care workers to help improve the nutrition of young pregnant Aboriginal women in the Aboriginal Family Birthing Program.

Project leader Associate Professor Philippa Middleton, an affiliate with the University’s Robinson Research Institute and now based at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), will work with the Women’s and Children’s Health Network and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, in consultation with community members.

 

Contact Details

Professor Marco Peres
Email: marco.peres@adelaide.edu.au
Website: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/directory/marco.peres
Director, Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health (ARCPOH)
Adelaide Dental School
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5438
Mobile: +61 (0)439 919 320


Ms Robyn Mills
Email: robyn.mills@adelaide.edu.au
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 6341
Mobile: +61 410 689 084