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Research Institute in Singapore to Help Empower Oral Health Research and Innovation in Asia

Launched in November 2019 by the National Dental Centre Singapore (NDCS) and SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre, the National Dental Research Institute Singapore (NDRIS) will focus on orofacial innovation, population oral health, and the oral microbiome.

The research institute will have three programs – Singapore Oro-facial Initiative (SOFI), Singapore Oral Microbiomics Initiative (SOMI) and Singapore Oral Population Health Initiative (SOPI).

These programs are aimed at assessing oral health priorities in Singapore and worldwide through the NDCS’s clinical and research capabilities and partnerships with other academic and research institutions.

Each of the three programs will cater to different focus areas in oral health needs in Singapore through innovation and research, they will boost the oral health services.

Development of oral medical devices and technologies will be the goal of SOFI. The program will also drive orofacial research and innovation with other academic institutions and industry partners. An example is project by SOFI was jointly developed by clinician-scientists from NDCS and researchers from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore to develop a microneedle path to reduce pain in anaesthetic administration.

Focussing on studying microorganisms within the oral cavity – the oral microbiome – SOMI will be researching on the development of new treatments to help counter abnormalities in the microbiome that is linked to other chronic diseases through personalized medicine.

Finally, to translate population research findings to improve oral and general health, SOPI will engage a multidisciplinary team to provide policy recommendations and education on oral health. This will be done through the implementation of an oral health surveillance system to identify oral health needs in the population.

A study has shown that in Singapore 31 percent of residents above 60 years of age have no teeth at all, which is comparatively higher to other developed countries that have 17 to 20 percent with no teeth. Oral disease prevalence is also attributed to the rapidly ageing population in Singapore and poses increasing burden on the healthcare system.

“The long-term sustainability of our healthcare system is essential if we are to continue delivering care that meets the changing needs of the population. Research not only provides rich insights into population oral health trends; it will enable us to develop new and effective treatments for common oral health conditions, increase efficiency through the adoption of technology, and introduce new care models to improve health. We are excited to launch the National Dental Research Institute Singapore as a platform to bring together the best minds for the betterment of oral health locally and globally,” said Clinical Associate Professor Poon Choy Yoke, Director, National Dental Centre Singapore. [APBN]