25 Days of CoDI : Day 4

On the fourth day of CoDI Clarkson made it clear to me, that dental health is a priority


Jan Clarkson: Bad Teeth = Bad Health Jan Clarkson

Do bad teeth really = bad health? We sat down with Jan Clarkson, Co-Director of the Dental Health Services Research Unit (DHSRU) at the University of Dundee, to find out just how serious not taking care of our teeth can be…


It’s no secret that a lackadaisical approach to dental care leads to fillings and gum disease. However, the latest research evidence suggests it could also cause serious illnesses like heart disease, cancer and diabetes.


Oral disease is the most widespread chronic disease. Consequently, it affects 4 Billion, is often invisible and is accepted as an unavoidable consequence of life and ageing.


As a result, there is increasing concern that the high burden of oral diseases represents a widely underestimated public health challenge, for almost all countries worldwide. Despite being highly preventable, the global cost of oral disease is $300 billion and not everyone has equal access to dental care.

Female in pain after a tooth extracted, close-up







Poor oral health can have detrimental consequences on physical and psychological wellbeing. As a result NHS choices and popular daily press provide evidence that bad teeth = bad health. Yet people continue to neglect their teeth.

Bad Teeth = Bad Health



So are these publishers right?  And if so why aren’t people listening? Are there other places to look for trusted evidence? Maybe, probably, but where?


This CODI event will challenge your assumptions about the importance of oral health and debate the evidence for ‘Bad teeth = Bad health’

Bad Teeth = Bad Health

The common risk factors that oral disease shares with other chronic diseases/conditions are:

  • Diet

– Risk factor for dental caries, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancers and obesity

  • Tobacco smoking/chewing

– Risk factor for oral and other cancers, periodontal disease, coronary heart disease, stroke, respiratory diseases and diabetes

  • Alcohol consumption

– Risk factor for oral and other cancers, cardiovascular disease, liver cirrhosis and trauma

Bad Teeth = Bad Health
Common Risk Factor Approach

Jan’s Research

Jan’s research is in dental clinical effectiveness and knowledge translation. She has worked in health services research throughout her career, focusing especially on issues relevant to dental practices.

Much of her research is embedded in service delivery and summarizing evidence. Consequently, the outcome has informed changes to Scotland’s dental remuneration policy and education. Her current research, in partnership with NHS Education for Scotland, focuses on the challenge of getting dental care providers to use best evidence.

As Joint Chief Investigator of three national multi-centre randomized controlled trials, it’s safe to say she has lot of responsibility. She manages research funds of £10m with collaborators across 10 sites. Furthermore she is involved with the recruitment of 180 UK dental practices and over 4000 of their patients. The results of this research will not only impact Scotland. In addition, as joint leader of Cochrane Oral Health, she works with international colleagues to provide summaries of the world best evidence

In 2016, in recognition of her contribution to dentistry, Jan was marked with the award of an Honorary Fellowship, from the Faculty of General Dental Practitioners, (part of the Royal College of Surgeons England).

In conclusion, Jan really knows what she is talking about, yet she still wants to hear what you have to say! She cannot know everything however, and she cannot view dental health from the same angle as everyone else. Therefore it is up to you, to come and hear what she has to say, and to have your say in debating the matter!

Jan’s show takes place on Sunday 7th August, Stand in the Square (Venue 372), 3-4pm, £8 (£6)

Purchase tickets at:  http://www.outstandingtickets.com/show/103/performance/1538/book-tickets


Bad Teeth = Bad Health