Australia Launches Nationwide Oral Health Study

Dentistry Today


Teeth and gums will get a closer look Down Under as the University of Adelaide launches the National Study of Adult Oral Health 2017-2018. The $5.8 million study will assess the level of oral diseases among 15,000 Australians who will be asked to take part in surveys and free dental examinations to determine the effectiveness, sustainability, and equity of dental services across the country. 

“It’s critical that we understand the changes in dental health among adult Australians and the quality, prevalence, and accessibility of services they receive,” said chief investigator Marco Peres, BDS, PhD, MPH, director of the Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health (ARCPOH) at the Adelaide Dental School, which will be conducting the study in partnership with federal, state, and territory departments of health and dental services.

“Oral health is vitally important to our general health, with well-established links to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and many other conditions, as well as to people’s quality of life,” Peres said. “Unlike general medical care, the high cost of dental care is largely borne by the individual. And with some oral diseases being very expensive to treat, this places a large section of our community at a further disadvantage, with treatment being almost unattainable for some people.”

The research represents the first national study of its kind in more than a decade. It will be designed to inform government policy-makers and dental service providers about the delivery of fair and effective dental services for all Australians throughout the next decade and beyond. Its results also will be used to directly impact the dental care that people receive, which in turn will affect their quality of life, Peres said.

Adults will be selected at random to participate. They will be interviewed over the phone or via a web-based survey and then invited to have a free dental examination to assess their dental health. The researchers also will track the 5,500 participants from the previous national study 10 years ago, also conducted by ARCPOH.

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