Sarah Baker

Professor Sarah R Baker

BSc (Hons) Psychology, PhD, Chartered Health Psychologist, AFBPsS

Professor of Psychology as applied to Dentistry

Head of Academic Unit of Oral Health, Dentistry and Society

Contact Details:

School of Clinical Dentistry
Claremont Crescent
S10 2TA

Telephone: +44 (0) 114 2159312



I am a Professor of Psychology and Chartered Health Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. I am Head of the Academic Unit of Oral Health, Dentistry and Society, which includes the disciplines of Paediatric Dentistry, Orthodontics, Dental Public Health, Social and Behavioural Sciences, and Primary Dental Care. I am an Associate Editor for the journal Community Dentistry Oral Epidemiology, and on the Editorial Boards of Community Dental Health and the International Dental Journal. In 2018, I was the recipient of the prestigious Distinguished Scientist Award for Behavioural, Epidemiological and Health Services Research from the International Association for Dental Research (IADR). I am also a past winner of the 2013 and 2016 IADR Giddon Award for Distinguished Research in Behavioural Sciences. In 2013-2014, I was President of the IADR’s Behavioural, Epidemiological, Health Services Research Group and served on the Executive Board from 2010 to 2019. I hold an honorary post with Public Health England, and am a member of the Peer Review College, UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellowships programme.


My research interests centre on the application of psychological theories, methods and techniques to address key questions in oral health and the field of dentistry. Previous projects have included:
  • clinical, psychological and social determinants and impacts of oral health
  • child and family adjustment to cleft lip and palate
  • young people’s experience of orthodontic and orthognathic conditions and the treatment pathway
  • development and evaluation of person-centred outcome measures for oral health including, dentine hypersensitivity, dry mouth, and gum health
  • development and evaluation of school oral health promotion interventions
  • cross-country comparison of structural (upstream) determinants of children’s oral health
  • oral health inequalities and barriers to dental care
  • inclusion of underserved populations in oral health research
  • life-course approaches to oral health
  • developing, testing and implementing theoretical frameworks in oral health research
  • barriers and facilitators to implementing research findings in dental practice
  • systems science approaches to Wicked Problems in oral health
  • critical evaluation of the use of evidence in population oral health
  • critical dental public health and social oral epidemiology

I regularly speak at international and national conferences and meetings, and have active collaborations with researchers and clinicians in oral health, dentistry, and health psychology around the world including Libya, New Zealand, Germany, Australia, Thailand, UK, Saudi Arabia, and the USA.


Recent and current projects include:

  • Baker SR, Gibson BG, Vettore M, Broomhead T. Development of a gum-related quality of life measure. Glaxosmithkline Consumer Health. 2018-2019.
  • Javidi, H, Benson P, Baker SR. Does Orthodontics Improve Oral Health-Related Quality of Life? A Cohort Study. Royal College of Surgeons and British Orthodontic Society Dental Surgery Research Fellowship. 2017-2023.
  • Schwendicke F, Foster Page LA, Baker SR, Fontana M, Thomson WM. What are barriers and enablers for dentists to non-invasively manage proximal caries lesions? DMG, Hamburg. 2016-2017.
  • Rodd HD, Baker SR, Marshman Z. Patient decision aids for anxious children. Society for the advancement of anaesthesia in dentistry, 2012 – 2015.
  • Marshman Z, Creswell C, Williams C, Rodd H, Porritt J, Stevens K, Baker SR, Newton JT. Development of a guided self-help Cognitive Behavioural Therapy resource for the reduction of dental anxiety in young people aged 11-16 years. National Institute of Health Research, Research for Patient Benefit. 2013-2015.
  • Ali Z, Martin N, Baker SR. Health Related Quality of Life Improvements in Removable Partial Denture Treatments for the Replacement of Missing Teeth using a novel PEEK material. EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) Industrial Collaboration: JUVORA TM Dental Innovations Research & Innovation. 2014-2015.
  • Baker SR, Ballas D. Spatial inequalities and oral health. Medical Humanities Sheffield, 2013-2016.

Research Team

Current PhD students

  • Andrew Rawlinson. Periodontal Treatment and Oral Health Related Quality of Life (2015-present)
  • Magdalena Uerlich. Obesity and dental caries: More communalities than just diet? (2016-present)
  • Seham Mohammed. Oral health, school attendance and school performance: A prospective, longitudinal study (2018-present)
  • Faisal Alanazi. The Oral Health Data Platform: Role of local government interventions on children’s oral health (2018-present)
  • Thitika Kimise. The informal market for ‘fashion braces’ (2018-present)
  • Hanieh Javidi. Does Orthodontics Improve Oral Health-Related Quality of Life? A Cohort Study (2017-present)
  • Maram Alwadi. The inclusion of disability in oral health research (2017-present)

Past PhD students:

  • Zaid Ali. Oral Health Related Quality of Life in Removable Partial Denture Treatments for the Replacement of Missing Teeth (2018)
  • Ninu Paul. Factors which predict better resilience following orthognathic surgery (2018)
  • Karthik Periyakaruppiah. Do coping strategies of patients determine denture success to improve oral health related quality of life? (2017)
  • Tom Broomhead. Spatial inequalities in oral health (2017)
  • Joe Hulin Decision aids in paediatric dental sedation: helping children choose what is right for them (Society for the Advancement of Anaesthesia in Dentistry; PhD awarded 2015)
  • Eamar Al Gtewi Exploring the use and role of online support groups for head and neck cancer (Libyan Government studentship; PhD awarded 2015)
  • Ekta Gupta The determinants of oral health related quality of life in adults (School of Dentistry studentship; PhD awarded 2014)
  • Marta Krasuska Exploring response shift in relation to dentine sensitivity (Glaxosmithkline studentship; PhD awarded 2014)
  • Sally Craig How children view other children with enamel defects (Staff candidate; MPhil awarded 2013)
  • Yvonne-Oliva Stocker A qualitative exploration of cultural issues associated with surgery to change facial appearance: Private and public views of orthognathics and the acceptability of appearance altering surgery (ESRC Case Award (in partnership with Sheffield Health and Social Research Consortium); PhD awarded 2013)
  • Orawan Nammontri The effect of an intervention to enhance sense of coherence on oral health related quality of life: An exploratory study (Royal Thai Embassy studentship; PhD awarded 2012)
  • Orachad Gururatana The impact of screening for oral disease and provision of simple restorations on oral health related quality of life of children in Thailand (Royal Thai Embassy studentship; PhD awarded 2011)
  • Amdah Mat Child oral health related quality of life in Malaysia (Malaysian Government studentship; PhD awarded 2010)
  • Jenny Porritt Childhood dental trauma: A resiliency model of adjustment (University of Sheffield studentship; PhD awarded 2010)
  • Paul Brocklehurst What effects the decision to refer an oral soft tissue lesion from primary to secondary care? (Self-funded and FCDP RCS England; PhD awarded 2009)
  • Susan Hill Illness perceptions of people with hand problems: A population survey and focus group enquiry (University of Keele Studentship; PhD awarded 2006)
  • I currently have responsibility for the development, teaching and assessment of communication skills within the Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) undergraduate curriculum (Years 1-5).
  • I am module lead for the Masters in Dental Public Health (MDPH) dissertation module, and for the Research Methods in Clinical Dentistry module for the MDPH Distance Learning.
  • I supervise dissertations for the Doctor in Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy) programme in the Department of Clinical Psychology, oral health promotion projects for the Hygiene and Therapy Diploma in the School of Clinical Dentistry, and dissertations for both the Masters in Dental Public Health and MClinDent in International Dental Public Health, School of Clinical Dentistry.
Professional Activities
  • President (2013-2014), Past President (2014-2016), Program Chair (2011-12), Symposium Organiser (2010-2011, 2017-2018) and Executive committee member (2010-present), Behavioural, Epidemiologic and Health Services Research Group (BEHSR), International Association for Dental Research (IADR)
  • Associate Editor and Editorial Board, Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology (2010-present)
  • Section Editor and Editorial Board, Behavioural Sciences, Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal (2009-2015)
  • Grant reviewer, NIHR, Research for Patient Benefit and Programme Grants; MRC, Life-long health and well-being; ESRC, Small Grant Scheme applications; Cancer Research UK; Health Research Board of Ireland - Collaborative Applied Research Grants in Population Health and Health Services Research
  • External examiner, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Bachelor of Dental Surgery, Part 2 Communication Skills, Human Science and Law and Ethics (2010-2014)
  • Journal referee for Quality of Life Research, British Journal of Health Psychology, Social Science and Medicine, Journal of Dental Research, Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, Cleft Palate Craniofacial Journal, Journal of Psychophysiology, Personality and Individual Differences, Journal of Psychosomatic Research, Community Dental Health, International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry, British Dental Journal, Journal of Orthodontics, European Journal of Oral Sciences

Invited international and national lectures and keynotes (2014-2019)

  1. ‘Improving oral health: Realising the contribution of Social and Behavioural Sciences’. Keynote Lecture, 97th General Assembly International Association of Dental Research, Vancouver, June 2019
  2. ‘Contribution of social and behavioural sciences to improving population oral health’. Invited Lecture, University of Bristol, November 2018
  3. ‘Children and families: Promoting adjustment to oral health conditions’. Health Psychology Guest Lecture Series, Sheffield Hallam University, June 2017
  4. ‘The influence of psychosocial factors on oral health and disease’ Invited Keynote, Research Day, University of Tromso, April 2017
  5. 'Changing dentist’s behaviour: Using psychology to promote the implementation of evidence into clinical practice'. Invited keynote, Research Day, University of Tromso, April 2017
  6. ‘Children and families: Promoting adjustment to oral health conditions’ in ‘From Macro to Micro Perspectives: Creating meaning in dentistry’ Colgate Symposium held at the European Academy of Paediatric Dentistry, Belgrade, June 2016
  7. ‘The psychosocial impact of dentine hypersensitivity’ in ‘Is Dentine Hypersensitivity a Dental Public Health Problem?’ symposium to be held at the Pan European Federation of International Association of Dental Research Conference, Croatia, September 2014
  8. ‘Using social science theory in oral and dental research: Why and how?’ Lunch and Learning Event. International Association for Dental Research Conference, Cape Town, June 2014
  9. 'Using theory to link clinical interventions to psychosocial outcomes in oral health research' in ‘Clinical Trials and Methodology Development for Patient-Oriented Outcomes’ symposium, International Association for Dental Research Conference, Cape Town, June 2014
  10. ‘How can behavioural sciences contribute to improving population oral health?’ Invited keynote, European Association of Dental Public Health Conference, Gothenberg, June 2014.


Each year the Behavioural, Epidemiologic and Health Services Research Group of the IADR announces the Giddon Award for Distinguished Research in the Behavioural Sciences which recognises a single basic or applied research paper within social or cultural anthropology, education, psychology, psychiatry, sociology or social work as applied to dentistry.

  • 2013 Giddon Award for Distinguished Research in Behavioural Sciences for the paper: Nammontri O, Robinson PG, Baker SR. Enhancing Oral Health via Sense of Coherence: A Cluster randomized Trial. Journal of Dental Research 2013; 92: 26-31
  • 2016 Giddon Award for Distinguished Research in Behavioural Sciences for the paper:
  • Baker SR, Gibson BJ. (2014). Social Oral Epidemi(olog)2y -Where next: one small step or one giant leap? Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology 2014; 42: 481-494.

Twitter: @sarahRbakerDPH