Early Detection Means Better Health
At the recent National Primary Oral Health Conference, I saw hundreds of oral health professionals from all across the U.S. We attended seminars, cruised the exhibit hall, and conversed at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. What impressed me the most was how single-focused they all were.
“On what?” you ask.
On the integration of oral health and primary medical care. The evidence all points in one direction; there is no overall good health without good oral health. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is working hard to improve access to early detection of oral health issues and increase preventive interventions by expanding the role of primary care providers. The HRSA initiative encourages core clinical competencies appropriate for primary care clinicians, delineates interdependent elements between oral health and primary care, and outlines the basis for implementation strategies, particularly in health safety net settings.
I believe that as we move from acute-focused medicine to a strategy of attaining and maintaining wellness, the interdependencies will increase. Let’s look forward to the day when oral health and primary care professionals will work together seamlessly for the benefit of patients at every income level.