All smiles: Funding boost for Indigenous children's dental health

30/04/2024 | 2 mins

A project at The University of Western Australia that aims to improve the dental health of Indigenous children has been awarded almost $1.5 million in Federal Government funding.

Dr Peter Arrow, from UWA’s Dental School, will lead the research funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Partnership Project scheme with partner funding support from the Stan Perron Charitable Foundation and the WA Health Department.

The project will use silver fluoride to manage and prevent childhood dental decay among Aboriginal children in remote communities.

“Access to dental treatment by those living in remote communities is limited to times when an oral health professional team visits the community or they need to travel long distances for care,” Dr Arrow said.

“We aim to improve access to care by testing the feasibility of using the skills of an Aboriginal Health Worker to apply silver fluoride who will be supported through the use of Tele-Dentistry to assess dental decay.”

Indigenous children in remote communities will have silver fluoride, a bactericidal and remineralising solution, applied to decay-affected teeth and tooth surfaces at risk of decay, to stop the decay and prevent new decay forming.

“It is important that these children have access to treatment in their communities as well as ongoing care,” Dr Arrow said.

“We hope the combination of an Aboriginal Health Worker and Tele-Dentistry will improve the dental health of the recipients not only in childhood but also well into adulthood.”

The Partnership Project scheme funds collaborations between researchers, local governments, health service providers and not-for-profit organisations to work together to define questions, undertake research, and interpret and translate the findings into health policy and practice.

The successful recipients of the recent round of the scheme shared more than $15.6 million in funding.

Media references

Annelies Gartner (UWA PR & Media Adviser) 6488 6876

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