Early Childhood Caries: Challenges & Opportunities

ECC Symposium -Promo.


ECC Symposium.

The Melbourne Dental School is pleased to present the launch of The Division of Population Health, Cariology & Oral Health Seminar Series.

Our first seminar, Early Childhood Caries: Challenges & Opportunities, brought together clinicians, researchers and public health experts to discuss the latest research advances in early childhood caries. Early childhood caries remains one of the highest causes of preventable hospitalisation of young children, with major impact on the child, their family and community.

Panel Members and Speakers

  • Dr Mihiri Silva

    Mihiri Silva completed a Bachelor of Dental Science (Hons) in 2004, Master of Dental Science in 2012 and Doctor of Clinical Dentistry (Paediatric Dentistry) in 2013, all at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Her PhD, investigating early life risk factors for dental caries and enamel hypomineralisation was obtained from The University of Melbourne in 2019. Mihiri is a senior lecturer and Divisional Lead of Population Health, Cariology and Oral Health at the Melbourne Dental School, University of Melbourne and Clinician-Scientist Fellow and registered specialist paediatric dentist at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute/Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne. Mihiri’s current research involves large, inter-disciplinary longitudinal cohort studies that focus on prevention to improve child oral health.

  • Dr Daniel Andreasen-Cocker

    Dan graduated from the University of Western Australia in 2006, he worked in rural private practice for three years before moving back to Perth to work as a paediatric dental resident at The Princess Margaret Hospital. Dan moved to Melbourne to undertake specialist paediatric dentistry training at the University of Melbourne which he completed in 2014. Since then Dan has worked at The Royal Children's Hospital, The Royal Dental Hospital and private practice. In 2018 Dan took on the role of head of the specialist paediatric dentistry department at The Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne. He has a particular interest on reviewing the system processes to reduce preventable hospitalisations for dental care with a focus on repeat hospitalisations.

  • Prof Dave Burgner

    Professor David Burgner is a paediatric infectious diseases clinician scientist. He completed his PhD on susceptibility to severe malaria at Oxford University in the UK and subsequently trained at Great Ormond Street Hospital and St Mary's Hospital/Imperial College, London. He was the first and only infectious diseases paediatrician in Western Australia from 2002 until 2010, when he relocated to Melbourne to join the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute. He is currently a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Senior Research Fellow, an honorary (NHFA) Future Leader Fellow, a Professorial Fellow at Melbourne University, and a paediatric infectious diseases consultant at Monash Children's Hospital.

  • Dr Ankur Singh

    Ankur is a Lecturer in Epidemiology at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health. Ankur completed his Ph.D. in Population Oral Health from the University of Adelaide in 2018 where he was awarded with the Dean’s Commendation for Research Thesis Excellence. Ankur’s main research focus is in examining individual- and area-level social inequalities in health outcomes and modelling effectiveness of policy interventions for their reduction using population-based data. His contributions are in public health areas of population oral health, tobacco control and in socio-epidemiologic theories for explaining health inequalities.

  • Prof Stuart Dashper, Professor of Oral Microbiology and Director of Research in the Melbourne Dental School

    Stuart Dashper is the Professor of Oral Microbiology and Director of Research in the Melbourne Dental School. Most of his current research fits under the umbrella of determining the causes of microbiome-mediated oral diseases, particularly periodontal diseases and dental caries. This research has involved the development of systems biology approaches to investigate chronic human disease. In particular the development of novel methodologies for the culture on polymicrobial biofilms and the determination the molecular interactions that underpin the symbiotic relationships of oral pathobionts. Stuart has applied microbiomic approaches to determine predictive biomarkers of disease in children. The long-term aim of these studies is to develop novel strategies for the prediction, prevention and treatment of oral diseases. He is an author on over 100 research publications and a named inventor on eight patents. His research is funded by the NHMRC and he has received NIH (USA) research grants in addition to the International Association for Dental Research (IADR)-GSK Innovation in Oral Care Award. Stuart is an Associate Editor of Molecular Oral Microbiology and on the on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Oral Microbiology and the Journal of Oral Biosciences. He is a recipient of The Alan Docking IADR Science Award for outstanding scientific achievement in the field of dental research. He was a Project Leader in the Oral Health Cooperative Research Centre (2003-2018) where he was involved in the translation of basic research into commercial products. He has supervised 17 PhD, 6 Doctor of Clinical Dentistry and 18 BSc(Hons) students to completion. He has been involved in curriculum development and teaching in the Melbourne Dental School for over 25 years

  • Prof Paula Moynihan

    Paula Moynihan is Director of Food and Health in the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. She is an internationally renowned researcher in the field of nutrition and oral health (> 130 publications). Her research focuses on the interrelationship between nutrition and oral health across the life-course, including the impact of diet and nutrition on dental caries, sugars and health, and the impact of compromised oral health on nutritional wellbeing. She also researches novel approaches to dietary intervention using co-development methods, and mixed methods evaluation. Recent projects include evaluation of Public Health England’s Change4Life Sugar Smart Campaign, and evidence synthesis pertaining to risk factors for Early Childhood Caries – research that will inform a forthcoming WHO Toolkit on Early Childhood Caries.
    Previously based in the UK where she was a Professor of Nutrition and Oral Health and Director of the only WHO Collaborating Centre for Nutrition and Oral Health. Her research has aligned with the work programme of the WHO since 2001. She has served as an expert advisor to the WHO Nutrition & Health Department and to the Oral Health Programme. In 2002 she was a member of the WHO Expert Consultation on Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases and advised on matters related to oral health. From 2010 she has served as an expert advisor to the WHO Nutrition Guideline Advisory Group Sub-Group on Diet and Health, on issues pertaining to carbohydrates and oral health. Her research into dietary sugars and risk of dental caries underpinned the WHO Guideline on Sugars Intake by Adults and Children.

  • Dr Lochana Ramalingam, Acting Head of Department of Dentistry Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne

    Lochana Ramalingam is a registered paediatric dentist with a Masters degree in Paediatric Dentistry from the University of Melbourne.  She completed her course in 2001 and worked as the senior registrar at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne from 2002-2003.  She completed her FRACDS (general stream) in 2002 and her Australian Dental Council exam in 2003.  She worked in Singapore before moving to Melbourne to work as a consultant at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne. She has a Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons special stream Fellowship in paediatric dentistry.

    She is currently the Acting Head of Department at the Royal Children’s Hospital. She is also a Research Associate at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. Her primary focus is on managing pediatric patients with complex medical conditions, special needs, dental anomalies, oral pathology and complex acute dental trauma. She also runs the Cleft Dental Service and conducts clinical audits and develops service improvement guidelines to facilitate the multidisciplinary management of this group of patients.

  • Prof Martin Hall

    Martin has 40 years' experience as a dentist working to improve the oral health of vulnerable populations both in Australia and overseas. He previously held positions in NSW as the Principal Dental Officer Mid North Coast Health Services and in Victoria as Senior Dentist and General Manager Clinical and Oral Health Services North Richmond Community Health. He is an Honorary Enterprise Fellow in the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health; Honorary Adjunct Professor at LaTrobe University’s School of Rural Health and Director of Kose Nehan – an Oral Health Project in East Timor. Martin was inducted into the International College of Dentists in 2015.

    His current role as Chief Oral Health Officer for Dental Health Services Victoria includes the development of new preventive based models of care within Victoria’s Public Oral Health services.

  • Dr Samantha Byrne

    Samantha Byrne is a senior lecturer in Oral Biology at the Melbourne Dental School, and holds the role of Divisional Lead: Dental Education and Innovation. Samantha has been awarded multiple times for her teaching of Oral Microbiology to Doctor of Dental Surgery and Bachelor of Oral Health students. She has a keen interest in learning and teaching, particularly the incorporation of practices which enhance student engagement and active learning, and the clinical application of oral health sciences. Samantha completed her PhD in 2006 where she explored the microbial composition of dental plaque associated with periodontal disease progression. She maintains a research interest in the microbial aetiology of chronic periodontitis and dental caries. Her current research interests also include the use of social media as a platform for the dissemination of oral health information.

  • Associate Professor Matt Hopcraft, CEO of the Australian Dental Association Victorian Branch.

    Associate Professor Matt Hopcraft is a dental public health expert and CEO of the Australian Dental Association Victorian Branch. He has published widely on various areas of public health, including water fluoridation, aged care, dental workforce issues and tooth decay. He co-founded SugarFree Smiles to advocate for measures to improve oral health in Australia and has been involved with many public campaigns to raise awareness of oral health issues and encourage healthy eating.

  • Dr Rita Hardiman