Why oral health is everyone’s job

Why oral health is everyone's job

What happens in the mouth is known to impact various systemic conditions including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke and pregnancy.

However, this integral role of oral health is not well recognised. Australians deserve to know more about the importance of oral health, including that it is an essential part of their general health.

Oral disease is often so well established by the time people get to a dental clinic that irreversible destruction (tooth or gum and bone loss) has already occurred.

This is a particular issue for the millions of Australians who cannot access private dental care.

Did you know that the difference between poor and wealthy Australians is seven teeth? That is, seven more teeth affected by oral disease in poorer Australians. That is the measure of the wealth gap in Australia.

We have not been able to manage the terrible burden of these diseases by simply telling people to come to the dental clinic. What is needed is a different approach.

By integrating oral health care into other clinical care that people are seeking, such as at the general medical practitioner or pharmacist or midwife, we can ensure that many more people at risk of oral disease receive early intervention and health promotion, and therefore reduce their risk of developing disease, improve oral health outcomes and at the same time improve other health outcomes, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease management, and positive pregnancy outcomes.