Community Dentistry

Community dentistry aims to promote oral health with a special focus on population level actions. The discipline studies and teaches topics related to society, populations and human behavior.

At undergraduate level, the topics include such as health promotion, ethics in medicine, communication, legislation, as well as the organization, financing and policies in health care. The department is also in charge of training of dental specialists in public health care, one of the five specialities in Finland. This three year training leads to leadership and expert positions in health care.

Contact information

University of Turku, Institute of Dentistry, Lemminkäisenkatu 2, FI-20520 Turku, Finland

Office Assistant Sari Heikkilä


Professor and Chair, DDS, PhD, Dental Specialist in Public Health Satu Lahti
Docent (Adjunct Professor), Senior Lecturer, DDS, PhD, Dental Specialist in Public Health Jorma Virtanen (part-time)
Docent (Adjunct Professor), Senior Lecturer, DDS, PhD, Specialist in Cariology Vesa Pohjola (part-time)
University Teacher, MSc Auli Suominen
University Teacher, DDS, Dental Specialist in Public Health Katri Palo (part-time)
University Teacher, PhD (Biochem.), DDS, Dental Specialist in Public Health Anu Kallio (part-time)
University Teacher, MSc (Admin.), BCs (Econ.) Hanna Suokko (part-time)
University Teacher, DDS Sanna Seppänen (part-time)


research at the department of community dentistry


The main research areas of the department are dental fear and anxiety, oral health-related quality of life, oral health behaviors of children and adolescents and schools as oral health promoting actors. We utilize large national longitudinal data set of FinnBrain Cohort Study, Health 2000 and Health 2011, Northern Birth Cohort Study 1966 with national and international collaborators.

Among adults we study the prevalence and changes in dental fear as well as the determinants of dental fear (such as psychological and oral health-related factors).

Among children we are interested in the interplay of family-, child-, environment and oral health-related factors in the development of dental fear.

We study the association of oral- health related quality of life on different aspects of oral health, dental fear and anxiety and use of oral health services.

Research on oral health behaviors focuses on behaviors, attitudes and knowledge and their changes and interrelationships among children and adolescents, especially within family from early childhood.

Research on schools as oral health promoting actors aims to find out if these activities (such as sweet and soft drink selling have changed after national interventions and whether there are differences between the schools.