The oral health of Canadians has improved dramatically over the past 30 years; children are much less likely to have tooth decay than in the past and older Canadians are keeping more of their natural teeth than their parents and grandparents did. This is good news – good oral health is essential for overall health and wellbeing. While a lot of progress has been made, many challenges remain: we now know that oral disease is linked to other conditions such as diabetes, pneumonia and cardiovascular disease; we know there is a growing issue around oral disease among the frail elderly; and we know that there are groups of Canadians who still have high rates of oral disease and little access to oral care.
We can attribute much of the improvement in oral health to research into the causes, treatment and prevention of oral disease. Canada is home to a number of internationally known oral health researchers. Until now, however, most have worked individually or in small groups.
This Network for Canadian Oral Health Research will link oral health researchers from ten universities across Canada. The network will create a registry of researchers, their interests and resources; gather researchers from varied backgrounds but with shared research interests at workshops to plan new research; and work to share the outcomes of research with policy makers, dental professionals and the public. This network will create ways for oral health researchers to share ideas and resources so they can work together to continue to improve the oral health of Canadians.