Sydney awarded $4.3m NIH grant to improve childhood oral health

21 September 2020
Investigating the assembly of the oral microbiome

Dr Christina Adler will lead a collaborative research effort to understand how environmental exposures during a child's first 1000 days of life influence overall oral health.

Dr Christina Adler

Dr Christina Adler's research focuses on understanding how the oral microbiome evolves from a state of health to the current state of highly prevalent chronic infection and disease.

Dr Christina Adler from The University of Sydney Dental School is the co-principal investigator on a project that has received US$3.2m in funding by the U.S National Institutes of Health (NIH), to examine the link between early environmental exposures and the oral microbiome - which is a major determinant of oral health.

“The proposed research hopes to improve childhood oral health by identifying which environmental exposures influence the oral microbiome, and when during childhood these exposures are likely to modify the risk of developing dental decay," said Christina.

This can then be translated into interventions to reduce dental decay prevalence, with further research building upon these findings for other oral diseases.

To build a picture of the oral microbiome during childhood development, the project will bring together a group of researchers from diverse fields to assess the composition and function of microbes in dental plaque collected from a paediatric longitudinal Australian twin cohort.

They will use the baby teeth collected from this cohort to assess directly fetal and postnatal exposures to chemicals, nutrients and toxins, and the data will be used to develop new microbiome statistical methods.

The goal is to better understand the interaction of environment and the oral microbiome, and use this information to reduce the high prevalence of dental decay amongst children.

Related news