Research on oral health
Research on oral health aims to apply a salutogenic perspective, which means that research is characterised by the importance of health factors for oral health in different social groups and throughout the life cycle. The profile area is defined by a public health perspective and promotes multidisciplinary cooperation at local, national and international levels.
The research group at Karlstad University has research focusing on highly topical areas of oral health such as epidemiology, public health and dental care for children and older people. Through collaboration between Folktandvården (the Public Dental Service) Region Värmland and Karlstad University, the first Academic Public Dental Clinic (AFK) in Sweden is now implemented in Karlstad. AFK, which is located at Folktandvården (the Public Dental Service) Kronoparken, is in close proximity to the university. Through AFK, it will be possible to enhance competence, training and clinical research and development for all dental care professionals. Karlstad University has several ongoing studies, which means that it is possible to work with already collected data material. This way, research and education are linked in a natural way.
In addition to multidisciplinary collaborations within the university, researchers in the field of oral health at Karlstad University also have several national partners; Region Värmland, School of Health and Welfare in Jönköping, Kristianstad University, the Institute for Postgraduate Dental Education in Jönköping, Linnaeus University, the Work Environment Office in Linköping, Malmö University, and the Specialised Dental Care in the Västra Götaland region, as well as international collaborations; University of the Witwatersand, Johannesburg in South Africa, Ohio State University, Boston University and Indiana University Southeast in USA, and Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences.
Examples of current and upcoming projects:
Projects related to health-promoting resources
A new multidisciplinary study focusing on protective factors to prevent dental caries among 6-year-olds in Region Värmland is underway. We pose the question why some children do not have dental caries. Through mixed methods such as clinical studies, registry data, surveys and interviews, dental caries among young children in socioeconomically vulnerable families will be studied from a biopsychosocial perspective.
Resilience among adults who, despite challenging life circumstances, have maintained good oral health (without dental caries) are studied from an international perspective.
Frisktandvård is a national dental care insurance scheme that offers regular dental care at a fixed price instead of patients paying for each visit. A project will study similarities and differences between individuals who have chosen to subscribe to Frisktandvård and those who pay per dental visit, focusing on oral health metrics as well as socio-economic factors that may impact oral health longitudinally.
“Healthy Ageing” - Through national registry data, the project looks at oral health related to older people’s quality of life, as well as in relation to physical and psychosocial factors within the ageing population.
Digital technology that will function as a reminder to brush your teeth, aimed to support older people living at home with mild cognitive impairment. A research project conducted by one of our doctoral students.
Projects related to Oral Health and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
Oral health and obstructive sleep apnea are studied through multidisciplinary projects. For example, we look at the implementation of an educational initiative about OSA through an international multicentre project.
Projects related to vulnerable groups
Through multidisciplinary collaboration, empirical studies are conducted on oral health and dental care among children and adolescents who live in special accommodation.
A study is underway that looks at the extent to which patients who have undergone radiotherapy for head and neck cancer received preventive dental care and dental treatment in relation to their illness.
An ongoing research project by one of our doctoral students focuses on a conversation model with the intention of developing the individual’s own abilities, motivation, driving forces and meaningfulness to promote good oral health among people suffering from mental illness.
There are two upcoming projects focusing on vulnerable groups. One will study CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) aimed at helping patients who suffer from dental fear. The project is a collaboration between the programme in dental hygiene and the psychology programme at Karlstad University. The second project will be focused on domestic violence from the perspective of dental care professionals.