As part of a potential revised dental contract in England, general dental practitioners would be encouraged to promote oral health awareness and prevent oral disease.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which will ultimately make recommendations for how this oral health promotion activity will be implemented, has appointed dental researchers from Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry to collect and review related evidence and present it to the NICE committee responsible for developing public health guidelines.
The research team is led by Professor Liz Kay, foundation dean of Peninsula Dental School and professor of dental public health, and includes Dr Mona Nasser.
Professor Kay led the 1997 Review of the Effectiveness of Oral Health Promotion for the Health Education Authority.
She said: 'Effective oral health promotion has been a professional interest of mine for the last 30 years, and I am delighted that my colleagues and I are in the position to help NICE to make evidence-based recommendations for how best dentists can approach the issue.
'In most cases oral diseases are preventable diseases, by embedding appropriate and effective oral health promotion and disease prevention within dental care we can make a visit to the dentist a better experience for the patient and improve oral health across the board.'
Under the anticipated changes to contract arrangements, dentists will be encouraged to promote oral health awareness and prevent oral disease, then organisations commissioning their services will need clear and up-to-date evidence to identify the best methods to use and what level of effectiveness to expect.
The research team also includes specialist socio-economic researchers from Plymouth University who have experience in analysing health-related systems.
The British Dental Association’s (BDA) library manager, Helen Nield, will also be joining them as the team’s information scientist, search strategist and database interrogator.
The research team will present its findings to NICE in January 2015.