Prof Richard Watt calls for action on reducing oral health inequalities at the International Association of Paediatric Dentistry (IAPD) annual conference.  


Prof Watt discusses US & English national oral health surveys on the BMJ Talk Medicine


Watt, R.G., Heilmann, A., Rouxel, P., Williams, D.M., Tsakos, G. (2016). Aubrey Sheiham: Iconoclast and Dental Public Health Pioneer.. Journal of dental research

Dental Public Health Research Overview

In many parts of the world oral diseases remain a significant public health problem being highly prevalent, having a major impact on quality of life and very costly to treat. Oral diseases are however largely preventable and stark social inequalities exist with oral conditions disproportionally affecting socially disadvantaged groups.  Little research has explored in depth the patterns and causes of oral health inequalities. An individualised and very clinical preventive approach has dominated oral health policy. This narrow approach has compartmentalised the mouth from other health improvement initiatives leading to isolation and outdated practices. A radically different preventive approach is now needed to promote population oral health.

The focus of research for UCL Dental Public Group includes:
  • Exploring the determinants and patterns of oral health inequalities in the UK and internationally
  • Development and evaluation of complex community interventions to tackle oral health inequalities.
  • Development and evaluation of preventive interventions in general dental practices.
  • Development and testing of oral health related quality of life measures
  • Exploring shared aetiological pathways between oral and general health
Research Grants
  • An exploratory randomised controlled trial of brief alcohol advice delivered in general dental practice. Funded by NIHR
  • Exploring trends in oral health inequalities amongst British Adults. Funded by ESRC.
  • UK Child Dental Health Survey. Part of consortium of universities with ONHS and Nat cen.
  • Promoting recommended infant feeding practices in a low income sample: RCT.Funded by Food Standards Agency
  • Social determinants of oral health inequalities. Funded by US National Institutes of Health/NIDCR
  • Exploratory trial of nutrition intervention in children's centres in Islington and Cornwall. Funded by the Food Standards Agency/Department of Health
  • UK Adult Dental Health Survey. Part of consortium of universities with ONS and Nat Cen.
Key Collaborators:
  • Clinical departments at Eastman Dental Institute
  • Kings College London
  • University of Newcastle
  • University of Cardiff
  • University of Birmingham

Various international collaborations exist in Brazil, Australia, US, Malaysia, Thailand, South Africa, Japan and Sweden.