A Seminar on the Future of Oral Health

14 May 2012

On a Friday in April we welcomed 24 Dentistry alumni to the lecture theatre at the Sydney Dental Hospital for the first in a series of occasional seminars to showcase some of the leading research being undertaken here and to provide an opportunity for people to reconnect with the faculty, one another, and meet the Dean and our researchers. Our speakers focused on the changing face of Dentistry over time and in response to the major shifts in population demographics and health challenges.

Associate Professor Peter Dennison told us that in the next eight years the proportion of the population over the age of 65 with any natural teeth is expected to jump to 97% and asked isn't it time we accepted the mouth as part of the body and realise that oral health impacts on general health and so should be taken seriously. Root caries affects 60-90% of older dentate people and is best managed non-surgically but how and by whom should this be done?

Dr Manish Arora reminded the audience that 50 years ago it was not considered strange for doctors or dentists to prescribe cigarettes to their patients to cure asthma for instance. Research has changed this view and the practice of dentistry from intervention- based practices to an increased focus on prevention and minimal intervention. He gave examples of paradigm-changing research conducted at Sydney: development of a new model for chemoresistance in cancer; a study on the long term oral health effects of childhood cancer; and how our students are being taught to apply themselves to solving patient problems. The outward focus on helping communities was highlighted by describing how Dentistry colleagues are driving the establishment of a dental research and training institute in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Contact: Ene Juurma

Phone: 02 9351 8300

Email: 7c3d3260021b1f1642200f25492b20103d5d20290c60535e