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New oral health centre opened

7 September 2011 - 6:06pm

Today (September 7) will see the opening of the Oral Health Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) at the University of Melbourne.

The $31.6 million institution hopes to conduct research and development into one of Australia's most costly areas of health care.

Such is the demand for dental care that it accounts for $1.6 billion annually in benefit payouts from health insurance companies - the most of any private health cover benefit.

According to the University of Melbourne, one-third of Australian adults have some form of untreated tooth decay and a further quarter have highly-progressed forms of gum disease.

The centre was opened by Kim Carr, Minister for Industry, Innovation, Science and Research.

CRC Chief Executive Officer Professor Eric Reynolds says: "The centre allows us to shine the spotlight on oral health. Research here will focus on prevention and early diagnosis of oral diseases and improved management plans for those already affected."

"The funding and support provided to the CRC by government, means we can focus on innovative approaches to preventing and treating oral diseases," Reynolds says.

Research conducted at the centre will focus on a variety of targeted areas of dental health, including a vaccine for the gum disease periodontitis.