Professor Mark GussyHonorary Visiting Professor, Office Of La Trobe Rural Health
My research is about making significant contributions to the evidence base for child oral health and its interface with general health and wellbeing. My substantive area is the oral health of young children. I have a history of research related to: - Aetiology of early childhood caries (ECC) with focus on pathophysiology of the disease and multiple determinants of the disease manifestation and progress (cohort studies, intervention studies with embedded cross sectional elements). - Models of shared care for ECC disease prevention and management.
Two major nationally funding cohort studies have allowed early childhood caries to be tracked longitudinally in rural children. We have been able to quantify the independent and interactive contributions of the oral environment, fluoride exposure and socio-economic factors to levels and rates of change in oral health from birth to six years of age. Saliva collected from children longitudinally will allow us, for the first time, to map the acquisition of micro-organisms and subsequent development of the oral microbial ecology in very young children. We are also able to evaluate the influence of drink choices on dental caries and obesity. Multilevel statistical modelling together with robust economic analysis enhances the impacts of this research for dental public health policy and for strategies to prevent obesity and dental diseases. More recently he has worked with rural communities exploring broader social and structural determinants of participation and challenging entrenched, exclusionary systems that disadvantage the most vulnerable.