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Dental public health 

Dental public health
Chapter:
Dental public health
Author(s):

Peter G. Robinson

and Zoe Marshman

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199661756.003.0208
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date: 19 September 2019

Dental public health is concerned with preventing oral disease, promoting oral health, and improving the quality of life through the organized efforts of society. Oral health is an important public health problem as dental diseases including dental caries, periodontal disease, oral neoplasms, and dentofacial trauma are common, have a significant impact on individuals and wider society, and are largely preventable. While the prevalence and severity of these most common and costly dental diseases have fallen in most developed countries, oral health inequalities exist in relation to socioeconomic status, ethnicity, or region. The links between oral and general health indicate that strategies to improve both sets of problems and reduce inequalities should be integrated within the framework advocated by the Commission for the Social Determinants of Health. Of particular relevance to oral health are increasing the availability of fluoride and ensuring universal access to quality dental services. Factors influencing oral health in the future include tighter financial pressures, changes in disease prevalence, the deprofessionalization of dentistry, the role of consumerism in oral health, and the need for a better evidence base.

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