Research team of dental anthropology of the department of Basic Sciences, Faculty of Dental Sciences is conducting a research project on metric and non-metric dental characteristics of aboriginal Vedda people in Sri Lanka. There are three Vedda communities in the country namely, Uva-Bintenna Vedda in Uva province (Southeast part of the country), Anuradhapura Vedda in North Central province and Coastal Vedda in Eastern province. This is the first ever comprehensive dental anthropological survey conducted in Sri Lanka which covers all three Vedda populations. The research team had already collected over 250 dental plaster casts visiting 5 Vedda villages in Anuradhapura district. Recently, they visited two villages (Kirimichchai and Kunchankulam) in Wakarai in Batticaloa district and collected dental plaster casts from Coastal Vedda people whose origin and affinities are hardly known. This project leads to an Mphil degree of a postgraduate student in the Basic Sciences Department. Researchers expect that, findings of this project will provide very important and significant information of the origin and migration of Vedda populations in Sri Lanka.
Research team of School based Fluoride Mouth rinse (S-FMR) program of the Faculty of Dental Sciences is conducting a research project on “Effectiveness of Sodium Fluoride mouth rinse in school children from Kandy district, Sri Lanka. S-FMR has been identified as an ideal model for the children with high caries risk and areas with low fluorides in drinking water. Management of children with dental caries is a real frustrating event for both dental surgeon and the patient and if the intensity of the disease can be reduced to a certain extent, the benefit will be not only to them and their guardians but also to the country that spend huge amount on treatment.
Based on the effect of fluoride on properties of a tooth, various preparations of fluorides were used in caries preventive and play a major role in reduction in dental caries in children and adults.
The present study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of School-based Fluoride Mouth Rinsing (S-FMR) program among 6 years old Sri Lankan school children in Yatinuwara educational zone. This was the first school based fluoride mouth rinse program that implemented in Sri Lanka under guidance of the WHO regional office in Niigata University Japan and financial assistance of Sri Lanka Dental Association (SLDA).
Based on the results the weekly NaF mouth rinses show a significant caries reduction effect on children in their permanent dentition. Further we could publish number of 06 conference papers and 04 manuscripts at International and National level.
The research team from the Department of Oral Pathology, affiliated with the Center for Research in Oral Cancer, Faculty of Dental Sciences mainly focuses on conducting collaborative studies on prevention, early detection and prognostic assessmentof Oral Potentially Malignant Disorders (OPMD) and Oral Cancer.
Ongoing studies on Evaluation of knowledge, attitudes and practices related to smokeless tobacco and areca nut cessation programmes among healthcare workers and students will allow us to indentify the deficiencies in such programmes. Information gained could be used to propose remedies with reference to including content on tobacco cessation to the undergraduate dental curriculum and to introduce tobacco/SLT cessation practices toHealth care professionals. The other ongoing studies include evaluation of “senescence associated secretory phenotype” and the role of senescent fibroblasts in oral submucous fibrosis, analysis of the type of areca products and its’ relationship with oral submucous fibrosis, feasibility of early detection of oral cancer using ONCALERT tool kit and the development of a Geo-coding system for OPMD and oral cancer. These projects will lead to several postgraduate degrees including a Master of Philosophy degree.
The research team has also published more than twenty full papers in international high impact scientific journals during the last five years with numerous presentations at both local and international conferences. Most notable among the publications, include a paper entitled “A model to predict nodal metastasis in patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma published in PLOS ONE in 2018. Further M. Phil degree entitled “Analysis of the significance of invasive front characteristics in relation to prognosis of oral squamous cell carcinoma” has been submitted for evaluation.
Natural Products Research Team of the Faculty of Dental Sciences which was formed in 2014, analyzes the bioactivity and safety of traditional herbal medicines used in Sri Lanka to protect oral health. The ultimate goal of this team is to develop them into marketable products and use them in preventive dentistry.
This team has already analyzed 3 polyherbal formulas for anticaries, antiperiodontopathic, anticandidal and anticancer effects at biochemical and cellular level. Currently, the molecular level analyses are in progress.
Based on the findings of this project we have submitted a manuscript for a SCI journal and another two are being prepared at the moment. More than 10 abstracts also were published in national and international conference proceedings. Moreover, we have supported 6 undergraduate projects. Two postgraduate students also are being trained under this project. In addition, we have managed to develop both local (with the Faculty of Medicine&Faculty of Science, University of Kelaniya, the Faculty of Science & Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Peradeniya) and international collaborations (with University of Nagasaki, Japan& Singapore State University) through this research project.