Oral Health + Overall Health

Oral Health + Overall Health

Oral health will be fully integrated into the study of overall health through a deeper and more complex understanding of the underlying biological, behavioral, and social factors that cause disease or support health in the dental, oral, and craniofacial region and throughout the body.

View submitted ideas on what it will take to reach this goal.


Oral Health + Overall Health

Longitudinal studies of oral health across the lifespan

NHANES provides nationally representative cross-sectional data, but we are lacking representative longitudinal data. Each generational cohort is very different in exposure to different disease risk and prevention factors, behaviors, and access to care. For example, younger generations are much less likely to be edentulous than our current older generations. How will the oral health of baby boomers change as they... more »


Oral Health + Overall Health

Cancer prevention and the dentists' role in HPV vaccination

You may feel a typical dentist is not equipped to provide HPV vaccines. But how about being part of the HPV conversation? Physician recommendation is the most important predictor of HPV vaccine uptake, and dentists see more infants/adolescents than any other physician in the US. In fact, 83% of children between 2 and 17 years visited a dentist at least once in 2013, which translates to 41 to 61 million children/adolescents.... more »


Oral Health + Overall Health

Orofacial Pain

Orofacial pain including TMJ disorders, post herpetic neuralgia, migraine headache, masticatory musculoskeletal pain, cervical musculoskeletal pain, neurovascular pain, orofacial dystonia’s, and other neuropathic pain disorders, as well as, sleep disorders related to orofacial pain are the most prevalent orofacial health issue exceeding even the incidence of carious lesions in the adult population. But the pathophysiology... more »


Oral Health + Overall Health

Trained Immunity in the Oral Mucosa

Contrary to long-held perception, escalating evidence shows that innate immune cells can be “trained to remember”. Designated "trained immunity" or "innate immune memory", this process involves sustained (epigenetic) changes in transcriptional programs and enables innate immune cells to display enhanced responsiveness to secondary stimulation. This concept and its ramifications have important therapeutic applications... more »


Oral Health + Overall Health

Basic Research on Oral Mucosal Immune Barriers

The mechanisms determining how the oral mucosa functions as an immune barrier tissue to control infection is poorly understood. While advances have been made in this subject in other mucosal sites (such as the GI tract and lung), there is a comparative paucity of information or tools available to probe these issues in the oral cavity.


Oral Health + Overall Health

Rol of nutrition in oral health

Diet is a crucial player in oral and general health. Sugar and other carbohydrates plays a central role in the development of dental caries, the most prevalent human disease. But we still don't know if there is a threshold of sugar or other carbohydrates consumption that is detrimental for oral health. Also, is not clear yet the role of nutrition in other oral conditions as periodontal disease or oral cancer. Are some... more »


Oral Health + Overall Health

Polymicrobial synergy

Oral diseases (as well as most other inflammatory diseases of the mucosae) are known to be triggered by the immunopathology resulting from the overabundance of particular combinations of species in the flora. There are now numerous microbiome studies of different inflammatory diseases, and it is becoming clear which species are associated with each of these diseases. However, extremely little is known about the mechanisms... more »


Oral Health + Overall Health

Oral Health and Aging

Research addressing the oral health of the aging population is urgently needed. The US “65-and-over population is projected to nearly double over the next three decades, from 48 million to 88 million by 2050” (National Institute of Aging). According to the 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 25% of adults 75 and older were edentulous. NIDCR should prioritize research on the impact of aging on care... more »


Oral Health + Overall Health

Dental Care Among Pregnant Women Experiencing Homelessness

Poor nutritional intake is a common dilemma for those who are unstably housed which adversely affects their dentition. For pregnant women in this population, poor dentition is even more of a concern as it has been associated with preterm birth and low infant birth weight. This research would have “Triple Aim” effects by improving the experience and quality of care, improving the health of homeless pregnant women (and... more »


Oral Health + Overall Health

Oral immunity, dysbiosis and autoimmune pathogenesis

Autoimmune diseases are multifactorial pathologies with ill-defined pathogenic mechanisms that afflict predominantly females. Innate and adaptive immunity, intestinal dysbiosis and diet impact on autoimmune pathogenesis. We will test the hypothesis that oral immunity is the predictor for autoimmunity independent of dietary impacts and other confounding. We will also test if oral immunity affects gut permeability which... more »


Oral Health + Overall Health

Inflammation: Causative link between oral and systemic disease

It's time to stop referring to the 'interesting associations' between oral health and general health and state outright that oral inflammation is a contributing cause of diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Reducing inflammation substantially reduces health costs by reducing hospitalizations. Private insurers have known this AND acted on it for over a decade. Avalere has estimated that basic dental care can save... more »


Oral Health + Overall Health

Avoidance of Dental Care related to Fear and Anxiety

Delay and avoidance of oral health care are public health problems affecting a significant portion of the global population, across developmental stages. In spite of technological advances in dental services, anxiety and fear remain a major determinant of avoidance of treatment that otherwise could prevent disease. Understanding behavioral mechanisms involved in avoidance due to fear and anxiety associated with pain... more »


Oral Health + Overall Health

Oropharyngeal Cancers and Pain

There is a large gap in knowledge about mechanisms by which oropharyngeal cancers develop, progress and metastasize. Moreover, these cancers produce a lot of pain in majority of the patients and yet knowledge about how pain is produced and can be managed, is very limited. Recently, JDR reported that funding for oral cancers has decreased significantly over the years and is underfunded compared to other malignancies and... more »


Oral Health + Overall Health

Develop Effective Methods to Prevent Periodontal Diseases

While periodontal diseases are known to lead to many overall health problems, and a host of temporary "cures" are being practiced, little is known about how to prevent them from breaking out and/or frequent recurring. Many mouth wash and tooth pastes claim they can help, but are they really effective? Are they been identified so that some vaccine can be developed? Perhaps NIDCR can provide some clues leading to effective... more »