Open wide: national study of oral health begins

The oral health of the nation will go under scrutiny in a new University of Adelaide study starting today – the first national study of its kind in more than a decade.

In total, 15,000 Australians will be asked to take part in surveys and free dental examinations as part of the National Study of Adult Oral Health 2017-2018.

The $5.8 million study will assess the level of oral diseases among adults, and the effectiveness, sustainability and equity of dental services across Australia.

The study will be conducted by the internationally recognised Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health (ARCPOH) in the University’s Adelaide Dental School, in partnership with federal, state and territory departments of health and dental services.

“It’s critical that we understand the changes in dental health among adult Australians, and the quality, prevalence and accessibility of services they receive,” says chief investigator Professor Marco Peres, Director of ARCPOH and Professor of Population Oral Health at the University of Adelaide.

“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.

“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,” Professor Peres says.

“Our study will inform government policy-makers and dental service providers about the delivery of fair and effective dental services for all Australians over the next decade and more. Importantly, the results of our study will directly impact on the dental care people receive in the community, which in turn will impact on their quality of life.”

Members of the community will be selected at random to take part in this study.

The 15,000 Australians will be interviewed over the phone or via a web-based survey, and will be invited to have a free dental examination to assess their dental health.

Researchers will also track the 5500 participants from the previous national study 10 years ago, also conducted by ARCPOH at the University of Adelaide.

For more information, visit the National Study of Adult Oral Health website:

The National Study of Adult Oral Health 2017-2018 is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), with additional funding and support from federal, state and territory health departments and dental services, and support from the Australian Dental Association, Colgate and Bupa.

This media release was published in the University’s Latest News

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