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Cutting the risk of chronic diseases through better oral health

18 April 2016
The University of Sydney’s new Chair of Lifespan Oral Health has set his sights on a $20m research centre.

The University of Sydney’s new Chair of Lifespan Oral Health, Professor Jöerg Eberhard plans to establish a world-class research centre to uravel connections between poor oral health and major chronic diseases. 

Professor Jöerg Eberhard, Chair of Lifespan Oral Health

“The University of Sydney’s Faculty of Dentistry has a strong research record revealing how chronic infections and degeneration of the gums and teeth raise the risk of disease processes throughout the body,” says Professor Eberhard, who is based at the University of Sydney’s Westmead campus.

Oral diseases are commonplace. A third of Australian adults have untreated dental decay and one in four have moderate to severe gum disease, conditions that both raise the risk of chronic health conditions.

Establishing a $20m world-class Research Centre in Lifespan Oral Health

A $3.6 million donation to the University of Sydney in 2015 was the stimulus for a bold plan to establish the inaugural Chair of Lifespan Oral Health and a $20 million research centre spearheading research, policy, advocacy and education initiatives to prevent and reduce chronic diseases caused by poor oral health.

“This newly-established Chair means I am responsible for developing and driving strategies that can improve the health of current and future generations of Australians. 

“This mission goes beyond traditional dentistry and medicine by extending to education, nutrition, agriculture, economics, public health policy, the built environment, and communication technologies.

The ability to bring together researchers from many disciplines is a unique feature of this appointment.
Jöerg Eberhard

“The ability to bring together researchers from many disciplines is a unique feature of this appointment and represents an extraordinary opportunity to integrate oral health into broader health issues. 

“I’m confident that our research, education and policy work will help to improve oral health but also the systemic health of the population, and I’m very happy to be joining the University of Sydney in this new endeavour.”

The University recently released a prospectus describing plans to translate its research findings into real-world impacts and raising $20 million to establish the world-class research centre. 

“This appointment will greatly enable the necessary science and clinical research, help strengthen the education of next-generation dentists, and integrate dental health in national and international health strategies,” says Professor Chris Peck, Dean of Dentistry at the University of Sydney.

“The new Chair’s research will be incorporated into the University’s Dentistry curricula, as well as new clinical treatment guidelines for future dental professionals, and in continuing professional development programs for current practitioners.

“The centre will build on the work of the new Chair and develop a whole-of-health disease prevention strategy that defines benefits to individuals, the community and government through improved health, reduced costs and evidence-based health policy development,” said Professor Peck.

Trying to get fit? Read this Sydney Morning Herald article about why poor oral health may be your undoing.

Learn more about giving to establish a Dental Clinic and World-Class Research Centre in Lifespan Oral Health at the University of Sydney: http://sydney.edu.au/dentistry/give/

Dan Gaffney

Media & PR Adviser (Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy)
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