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01 Jun 2002 | Australasian Dental Practice

news > Spectrum > Page 18

NHMRC grants: $1.8 million to improve oral health

Government policies and funding Grants

Following public consultation and consideration of existing evidence, the NHMRC's Strategic Research Development Committee (SRDC) believes that improving a person's oral health could have a flow-on effect to their general health, but that further research is needed in this area.

As a result, the CEO of the NHMRC, Professor Alan Pettigrew, has announced that the NHMRC will provide over $1.5 million to fund 18 oral health research projects across the nation. In recognition of the importance of good oral health, the HCF's Health and Medical Research Foundation has contributed $300,000 to the pool of funding available for projects in the area of clinical research into oral health. Funding for the 18 projects totals more than $1.8million.

"During community consultation on research priorities, we were surprised at how often the issue of oral health as an area of major concern was raised in discussion," Dr Sarah Robertson, Chair of the SRDC's Oral Health Research Working Committee, said.

"We also noted that the National Health Survey of 1989-90 had ranked symptoms of oral disease as the sixth most frequent illness condition, and a later publication, Australia's Health 2000, stated that oral health had been found to have a link to each of the major chronic diseases. Oral health was also thought to be a marker of general health."

Funding will be provided to research projects in all States and the Northern Territory. The aim of the research is to improve the oral and general health of Australians:

  • younger Australians;
  • older Australians;
  • Indigenous Australians;
  • people in rural communities;
  • people with chronic disease; and
  • those on low incomes.

"The oral health research projects are innovative and exciting. They have the potential to produce practical ways to improve health outcomes for the majority of Australians. The very welcome contribution by the HCF has made it possible to increase the number of projects funded in the clinical research area," Dr Robertson said.

The research projects include investigating the suggested link between periodontal disease, inflammation of the gums and cardiovascular disease; new methods of dental treatment; dietary strategies to prevent dental disease in asthmatic children; and water fluoridation.

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