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Sleep patterns and children’s oral health

A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


Academic background
Health Sciences
Host campus
Women's and Children's Health (Dunedin)
Professor Barbara Galland, Associate Professor Ben Wheeler, Dr Manikandan Ekambaram (Mani)


A collaborative project between the Department of Women’s & Children’s Health at Otago Medical School, and the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Otago.

We are seeking an enthusiastic and highly motivated student to undertake a PhD project on sleep patterns and children’s oral health.

There is a small amount of literature that presents a complex relationship between childhood dental caries and childhood sleep, in that insufficient sleep is consistently associated with increased odds of dental caries (the cause of which remains undetermined), yet untreated, dental caries causes overnight pain for children resulting in fragmented and insufficient sleep. However, there are few well-designed studies that have informed this area of research, and all sleep measures to date have been from parent report. Thus, much more work incorporating improvements in study design and measurement tools is required to better our understanding of the relationship between childhood dental caries and sleep. This is important for public health interventions aimed at reducing both dental caries and insufficient sleep in children.

As this is an emerging area of research, the PhD student would be given substantial opportunity to work alongside the research team to develop and conduct this exciting new programme of research.

Applicants with a background or an interest in sleep or dental health, with demonstrated academic and research experience at the Honours or Master’s level, are encouraged to contact one of the study investigators below.

A suitably qualified applicant would be supported to apply for a PhD scholarship relevant to this project.

Details of available scholarships are found at:

Academic Staff to contact for further information:

Associate Professor Barbara Galland

Associate Professor Ben Wheeler

Associate Professor Manikandan Ekambaram (Mani)


Barbara Galland