Longitudinal research is needed to better understand the natural history of oral conditions and long-term health and social outcomes. Oral health data has been collected periodically in the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study for over 40 years. To date, 70+ peer-review articles on the Study’s oral health-related findings have been published, providing insight into the natural history of oral conditions, risk factors, impacts on quality of life, and disparities in oral health. Some of these report new findings, while others build upon the existing body of evidence. This paper provides an overview of these findings and reflects on their public health implications and policy utility in New Zealand.
*Full-text study online at https://europepmc.org/article/MED/32226196#free-full-text
Child oral health
Early dental research from the Dunedin Study primarily focused upon the prevalence of childhood dental caries and its associated protective and causative factors, including community water fluoridation (which commenced in Dunedin in 1967, well before the Study members were born), self-care, and use of dental services. Over 90% of the Study participants had attended a School Dental Service (SDS) clinic by the age of 5 years, and more than half of those were enrolled with the SDS prior to age 3 years.