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Research grants available to improve children’s oral health

03 Nov 2015

The Faculty of Dental Surgery (FDS) has today announced it will fund a number of research fellowships as part of action to address concerns about the current state of children’s oral health.

Professor Paul Speight, the Faculty of Dental Surgery’s Research Chair at the Royal College of Surgeons, said the fellowships were being made available to encourage and increase research into children’s oral health. They will be offered in partnership with the British Orthodontic Society and The British Society of Paediatric Dentistry.

Professor Speight said: “Around 26,000 children are now admitted to hospital each year for tooth decay, even though it is almost entirely preventable. This is the most common reason why children aged 5-9 years old are admitted to hospital. These are shocking statistics which need to be addressed.

“We have called for a clear government strategy to improve the nation’s oral health and raise awareness of how simple measures will drive up standards. This includes encouraging and supporting children and parents to brush teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste as soon as teeth appear; as well as reducing sugar consumption, visiting the dentist regularly once teeth come through, and water fluoridation programmes. We would also like to see action against inequalities in health and in access to services, clear care pathways for children and more involvement of children in decision-making about their own healthcare. Other issues include management of craniofacial anomalies.

“Urgent action is needed and further research is required to help implement appropriate solutions. This is why we will be offering a number of research fellowships under the theme of Promoting Children’s Oral Health.”

The Faculty of Dental Surgery has teamed up with the British Orthodontic Society (BOS) and the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry (BSPD) to award a number of fellowships in 2016. These include:

  • A joint FDS-BOS research training fellowship available to fund a clinician scientist to undertake a PhD in the broad field of orthodontics.
  • A joint FDS-BSPD one year research fellowship to support a clinical trainee in Paediatric Dentistry who may be studying towards a PhD.
  • The Faculty will also continue to offer the FDS Research Fellowship and the FDS Wellcome Research Fellowship.

The Faculty will also continue to offer small research grants.  This year a number of these will be offered in partnership with the British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry (BASCD) to support research designed to benefit community or population oral health.

Improving the state of children’s oral health will not only reduce unnecessary distress for parents and children by keeping children out of hospital, it will also improve oral health throughout life. This will help use NHS finances more efficiently. For example, hospital-based tooth extractions for children under 18 years cost £30 million per year, so investing in preventative measures could mean long term savings for the NHS.
Potential candidates should visit the Faculty’s research webpages for more information.

Notes to editors

The Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England is committed to enabling dentists and specialists to provide patients with the highest possible standards of practice and care.

The British Orthodontic Society (BOS) is a charity which promotes the study and practice of orthodontics.  It is committed to continuously improving professional standards and encourages research to ensure patients receive the highest standards of care.

BSPD was founded in 1968 with the aim of improving the oral health of children in the UK.  It consists of 500 members who work in hospital, in community clinics and as consultants, specialists, dentists and dental care professionals. Some members also work in universities and as researchers.

The British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry (BASCD) was established in 1973.  It is the UK’s professional association for dental public health and community dentistry.  Members have a range of backgrounds, including Public Health England and academia. They have a common interest in the science and practice of community and population health, particularly prevention.

To contact the FDS press office, call: 020 7869 6047/6052;
Out-of hours: 07966 486 832; or email:

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