Oral and Dental Health

How effective and cost-effective is water fluoridation for adults? A 10-year retrospective cohort study

Addressing priority 1NIHR research completed

CHOICE TRIAL: Changing Habits tO Prevent ChIld CariEs: A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Family-Focused Therapeutic Conversation Delivered by Dental Nurses in Primary Care

Addressing priorities 1 and 7NIHR research in progress

This research team is exploring the benefits of a dental nurse to provide parents with supportive advice and plans, personal to them, to help prevent or reduce future tooth decay. They also want to see if dental practices are the best places to deliver this within local communities. They will identify children with at least one decayed tooth. They will then invite their parent/carer to talk with a dental nurse to learn about how best to prevent tooth decay in the future. 

An intervention using mental health support workers as link workers to improve dental visiting in people with severe mental illness: A feasibility study.

Addressing priority 4: NIHR research in progress

People with Severe Mental Illness (SMI) often have problems with their teeth and gums. Very few people with SMI attend regular dental appointments. Instead, they are more likely to seek help when in crisis and invasive treatments are the only option. Accessing a dentist for people with SMI can be difficult for lots of reasons. Unfortunately, existing dental initiatives have not addressed the barriers facing this group.  This research team wants to help people with SMI to access dental care by linking them up with mental health support workers who are already working in the NHS. The support workers will help people to book, plan, and attend regular dental appointments. They will support patients to apply for financial support. People call this type of support link work. Research has indicated that link work can increase dental visits in people who might not normally attend. 

Caring Optimally: promoting effective Mouth MInuTes in care homes (COMMIT Study)

Addressing priority 4: NIHR research in progress

This research aims, in partnership with care homes, to find out how best to keep residents' mouths healthy by supporting staff to promote, in their day-to-day work, effective 'mouth minutes' for care for residents. I

The CALM trial: the clinical and cost-effectiveness of a guided self-help cognitive behavioural therapy intervention to reduce dental anxiety in children

Addressing priorities 7 and 11NIHR research in progress

Children with dental anxiety have poor oral health (more tooth decay and extractions) and may have a lifetime of avoiding the dentist. Dentists themselves find it stressful to treat children who feel anxious and frequently refer them to specialist services for sedation or general anaesthetic (GA). This has additional costs to the NHS and a burden to the family. A simple and cost-effective way of helping dentally anxious children is needed. There is strong evidence to support the use of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), a 'talking therapy', for other forms of anxiety and mental health conditions. There is limited evidence about CBT delivered specifically by dental professionals, rather than by psychologists for children with dental anxiety. Guided self-help CBT resources were developed for children aged 9-16 years, which reduced anxiety in children referred to hospital or community dental service (secondary care). This study aims to find out if this works in general practice (primary care) where the vast majority of children are seen. 

The ENHANCE-D Study ENHANCing smoking cEssation interventions in Dentistry

Addressing a number of the prioritiesNIHR research in progress

Smoking is a major cause of illness and death in the UK. It affects both general and oral health. Around three-quarters of the 7200 new cases of mouth and throat cancer diagnosed in the UK each year are due to smoking. Smoking is also a big risk factor for gum disease ('periodontitis'). This affects 1 in 10 UK adults and often leads to tooth loss. Quitting smoking is an effective way to improve oral health. Helping patients to quit is one of the most important aspects of dental care. For those with gum disease, their treatments will work better if they quit. There are many ways to support smokers to quit. These include behavioural support, medications such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), or e-cigarettes. Dental teams currently offer 'very brief advice' (VBA) to patients who smoke. This involves a short discussion and sometimes a referral elsewhere, such as to a doctor or Stop Smoking Service, for further support. Of all healthcare providers, dental teams are probably best placed to offer extra quitting support. They see a large number of patients regularly. They notice changes in the mouth related to smoking, such as loose teeth and staining. These changes can be used as powerful prompts for a quit attempt. This study is needed to tell us: 1) Does providing extra quitting support in the dental clinic improve smoking quit rates and gum health? 2) Is providing this support good value for money?