Sydney Dentistry cutting the risk of chronic diseases through better oral health

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 newly appointed Chair of Lifespan Oral Health, Professor Jöerg Eberhard has set his sights on establishing a world-class research centre dedicated to improving oral health and unraveling connections between poor oral health and major health issues such as heart attacks, stroke, vascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and poor outcomes in pregnancy.

Sydney Dental School
Professor Jöerg Eberhard, Chair of Lifespan Oral Health (Photo credit: University of Sydney)

“The Sydney 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 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.

University of Sydney Dental School

The Sydney Dental School’s Doctor of Dental Medicine is a graduate-entry program that has been purposefully designed to adhere to the well-rounded course structure of the North American postgraduate model, but has also maintained the sophisticated clinical training for which the university has come to be renowned, giving students an applicable knowledge of dental health from the community to the laboratory.

Program: Doctor of Dental Medicine
Location: Sydney, New South Wales
Next available intake: February 2017
Duration: 4 years
Application deadline: June 21, 2016

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