PhD student on the project: The oral microbiome as modifiable risk factor for dental caries
The Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMS) works closely with the Generation R Study in the field of epidemiological research. This research has a strong connecting character and is aimed at identifying environmental, lifestyle and personal factors related to (oral) health with the aim of developing effective strategies for improving care.
The project you will be working on as a PhD student focuses on the composition of the oral microbiome in adolescents. Recently, it has been hypothesized that adverse changes in the oral microbiome underlie the development of dental caries. Research on this is still in its infancy, particularly lacking insight on what constitutes a healthy microbiome and its relation to caries disease. New preventive practices, based on the maintenance of a healthy oral microbiome, would enable tailored interventions efficiently addressing the inequalities in dental caries susceptibility. Therefore, the aim of this project is to find new strategies for risk identification and progression control of tooth decay (caries) using the knowledge derived about the healthy microbiome. We address this aim by partnering with leading companies specialized in oral health care and oral imaging. With the combination of an exceptionally large dataset (n = 4800) and state-of-the-art technological innovations, insight is sought into the composition and function of the oral microbiome in the health and disease process. To better understand changes in the oral microbiome, various dental as well as non-dental factors (genetic, socio-economic, behavioral variables) will be evaluated.
We expect that knowledge about the composition of the oral microbiome will serve as a basis for the development of specialized oral health products and will ultimately lead to more sustainable oral health in the general population.
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