The McGill University Faculty of Dentistry has received $3.3 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to collaborate with Statistics Canada’s existing Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) to gather data and address knowledge gaps related to oral health.
The study, “Oral Health and Oral Health Care of Canadians,” led by professor Paul Allison of the Faculty of Dentistry, will be a partnership involving all 10 of the dental schools in Canada.
“Canadians’ lack of information on the oral health and dental care of our population and how these outcomes and services are distributed and evolving over time. The most recent national survey was completed over a decade ago in 2009, and prior to that in the early 1970s,” said Allison.
“Our study will shine light on current social determinants and inequalities in oral health of Canadians. It will also provide valuable data to further enable investigations of how oral and general health are linked,” he said.
The researchers will work with CHMS to add essential oral health clinical and self-reported data to the regularly scheduled surveys by the CHMS. Information will be collected from January 2022 through December 2023 among Canadians between the ages of a year and 79 years old.
“It’s exciting to have a national group of this size involved in a research project. It will allow us to establish a modern, world-class, research platform that will provide numerous opportunities for new research discovery and research training,” said Allison.
“The need for this renewed national picture is made more acute by the increased interest in action to change oral healthcare delivery in Canada,” said Allison.
“Ninety-five percent of Canadians’ dental care is delivered privately and paid for out-of-pocket or through private dental insurance. This contributes to the significant inequalities in oral health that exist among Canadians,” he said.
Evidence overwhelmingly proves that poor oral health has a profound impact on overall health and quality of life across all segments of society, the McGill University said.
A database and research and training infrastructure is planned to enable oral health researchers, students, practitioners, and decision-makers to address pertinent oral health and oral healthcare-related research concerns, the university said.
The researchers also aim to facilitate knowledge transition and exchange with appropriate stakeholders and build sustainable long-term capacity in oral health-related research, the university said.
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