IADR-Global Oral Health Inequalities Research Agenda®: An IADR Board Call to Action

Today, the International and American Associations for Dental Research (IADR/AADR) published a special editorial titled “IADR-Global Oral Health Inequalities Research Agenda®: An IADR Board Call to Action.” The key objective of the IADR-Global Oral Health Inequalities: The Research Agenda (IADR-GOHIRA®) is to articulate a research agenda to generate the evidence for a strategy that if properly implemented will reduce inequalities in oral health within a generation. The editorial, by lead author Harold Sgan-Cohen, Hebrew University-Hadassah, is published in the IADR/AADR Journal of Dental Research.

While there have been major improvements in oral health in the last 30 years, with research leading to remarkable advances in the prevention and treatment of disease, inequalities remain and a marked social gradient in oral health is seen similar to that in general health. Global inequalities in oral health persist both, between and within different regions and societies; and they undermine the fabric, productivity and quality of life of many of the world’s peoples.

IADR recognizes that to date there has been limited success in translating research into effective action to promote global oral health and eliminate inequalities. It is increasingly apparent that addressing this challenge will require closer and more robust engagement across sectors, including social policy, and the adoption of an upstream approach that integrates action on oral health with approaches to reduce the global burden of non-communicable disease in general. The essence of the present Call to Action is to focus the attention of international leaders in oral health research on this issue. IADR is committed to accepting a scientific, social and moral leadership role in achieving this goal.

The special editorial provides more background about the IADR-GOHIRA and it outlines the IADR-GOHIRA research priorities, the overall aim, and the outcome priorities and timeline for implementation.

“The IADR Board of Directors is pleased the IADR-GOHIRA effort has captured the imagination of the global health research community,” said IADR President Mary MacDougall. “We look forward to stimulating the research needed to reduce oral health inequalities.”

Visit http://jdr.sagepub.com/content/early/recent to read the complete editorial.

Beta-catenin Molecule is Required for Tooth Root Formation

Today, the International and American Associations for Dental Research (IADR/AADR) published a paper titled “ß-catenin is Required in Odontoblasts for Tooth Root Formation.” The paper, written by lead authors Tak-Heun Kim and Cheol-Hyeon Bae, Chonbuk National University Korea School of Dentistry, Laboratory for Craniofacial Biology, is published in the IADR/AADR Journal of Dental Research.

The tooth root, together with the surrounding periodontium, maintains the tooth in the jaw. The root develops after the crown forms, a process called morphogenesis. While the molecular and cellular mechanisms of early tooth development and crown morphogenesis have been extensively studied, little is known about the molecular mechanisms controlling tooth root formation.

In this study, Kim and Bae et al show that a protein called ß-catenin is strongly expressed in odontoblasts – the cells that develop the tooth dentin, and is required for root formation. Tissue-specific inactivation of ß-catenin in developing odontoblasts produced molars lacking roots and aberrantly thin incisors.

At the beginning of root formation in the mutant molars, the cervical loop epithelium extended apically to form Hertwig’s epithelial root sheath (HERS), but root odontoblast differentiation was disrupted and followed by the loss of a subset of HERS inner layer cells. However, outer layer of HERS extended without the root, and the mutant molars finally erupted. The periodontal tissues invaded extensively into the dental pulp. These results indicate that there is a cell-autonomous requirement for Wnt/ß-catenin signaling in the dental mesenchyme for root formation.

“The striking tooth phenotypes in this study shed light on how Wnt signaling regulates odontoblast fate and root development,” said JDR Associate Editor Joy Richman.

A perspective article titled “Tooth Eruption without Roots” by Xiu-Ping Wang, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, has been written to further elaborate on root development and tooth eruption. Visit http://jdr.sagepub.com/content/early/recent to read both articles.