Public Health & Health Services

Public Health & Health Services

Led by Dr Ekta Gupta, the aim of this theme is to conduct high quality research in oral health utilising the principles of Dental Public Health to improve the oral health of individuals and populations. Areas of research in the Public Health & Health Services include: the study of Oral health in Vulnerable/High Risk groups and Older People, Dental Health Services Research and, Evidence-Based Dentistry.

  • Oral Health in Vulnerable/High Risk Groups and Older People

This research area focuses on improving the oral health of the vulnerable groups including older adults, homeless and young people. 

Oral Health in Older People
Recent data have reported a greater increase in older age groups (65 years and over) as compared to other population groups in Scotland. This increasingly large number of older people in the population are living longer and they also tend to retain their natural teeth well into old age. Consequently, this will impact on the nature and complexity of care provided. This research area focusses on utilising an interdisciplinary approach to improve oral health and well-being of the aging population.

Oral Health in the Homeless
In collaboration with University of Dundee this area aims to aid in the wider implementation of the Smile4life programme which aims to develop, implement and evaluate oral health preventive programmes for homeless populations across Scotland. The current work focuses on implementation of this programme across non-governmental/third sector organisations.

Oral Health in Young People
Dental anxiety in young people has a significant impact on dental services. Treating anxious patients can be difficult, time consuming, costly and can cause stress for the treating dentist and the dental team.  In collaboration with University of Sheffield and NHS Grampian this work aims to pilot a guided self-help Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) resource for young people (9-16 years old) and their parents for the reduction of dental anxiety within Public Dental services (PDS) in Grampian.


  • Health Services Research

The Institute of Dentistry closely works with the Health Services Research Unit at Aberdeen on dental trials to evaluate the effectiveness of health services and health technologies in primary care dentistry.  

  • Evidence Based Dentistry

This area focuses on gathering primary evidence and conducting high quality systematic reviews to facilitate the use of evidence base for clinical decision making.