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Australia's oral health to be investigated

Photo: Australian oral health to be investigated
The oral health of the nation will go under scrutiny in a new University of Adelaide study, the first national study of its kind in more than a decade.

Australia's oral health has been put in the dentists chair.

The first national study of oral health will examine the gums and teeth of 15,000 Australians during the next 12 months.

Launched on Tuesday, the $5.8 million study will be conducted by researchers at the Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health (ARCPOH) at the University of Adelaide in partnership with federal and state governments.

"It's critical that we understand the changes in dental health among adult Australians, and the quality, prevalence and accessibility of services they receive," said chief investigator Professor Marco Peres.
Research shows oral health is important to general health.

Poor dental hygiene has been linked to cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Regular check ups at the dentists also dramatically decrease the risk of pneumonia.

A US study conducted last year by researchers at the Division of Infectious Diseases at Virginia Commonwealth University found people who didn't have dental check-ups were almost twice as likely to develop pneumonia than those who visited the dentist twice a year.

The National Study of Adult Oral Health 2017-2018 will assess the level of oral diseases among adults, and the "effectiveness" of dental services across Australia" with the data to inform policy makers.

Members of the community will be selected at random to take part and 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.

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