Oral health inequities need research and policy changes

Oral health issues continue to plague countries around the world and while there have been instances where there have been improvements, a new perspective published in The New England Journal of Medicine calls for research and policy changes to bring about improvements at a much larger level.

Oral health is intrinsic to overall health and well-being, yet nearly half of adults over age 30 have periodontal (gum) disease, and 90% have caries, or tooth decay, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These and other oral diseases disproportionately burden people who are from marginalized and underserved groups.

Drawing on findings and recommendations from NIH’s comprehensive report on the nation’s oral health, Oral Health in America: Advances and Challenges, the authors write that equalizing oral health and access to care will require research and policy initiatives that make oral health care more affordable, accessible, and responsive to communities.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which has disproportionately impacted the same groups that experience oral health inequities, highlights the effects of social and systemic factors on health and well-being, as well as the interconnectedness of overall health, mental health, and oral health, write the authors. Patients who lack access to dental care and seek treatment for dental problems in hospital emergency departments are commonly prescribed opioids. Misuse of and addiction to opioids and other substances, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic, threaten oral health. In a similar vein, people with certain mental illnesses have particularly high rates of oral disease. Fully addressing oral health disparities will require research on the environmental, psychosocial, and behavioral factors at the intersection of oral and mental health.

Finally, the authors call for several policy changes to improve access to oral health care. These include integrating oral, medical, and behavioral health care in traditional and non-traditional health care settings, such as schools and community health centers, as well as including communities in the planning, design, and execution of oral health care systems. Efforts are also needed to diversify the composition of oral health professionals, address education and training costs, and build a strong oral health research enterprise. Harnessing these policy changes and fully integrating oral health into a new era of discovery with a greater emphasis on prevention can disrupt inequities and improve the overall health of individuals, families, and communities.

Related Posts

Lil Durk Car Accident Is Durk Still Alive

Lil Durk Car Accident: Is Durk Still Alive?

Car accident involving Lil Durk: shocking information for all Recently, an accident occurred involving an American rapper and musician. Following that, several individuals began speculating about his demise. You may…

Read more
Is Sofia Going To Join AGT Who Will The Judge Of The Show

Is Sofia Going To Join AGT? Who Will The Judge Of The Show?

AGT, often known as America’s Got Talent, is a TV talent competition in the United States. It is a component of Simon Cowell’s Got Talent brand on a global scale….

Read more
Upon The Boy’s Coming Out, His Parents And Brother Beat Him!

Upon The Boy’s Coming Out, His Parents And Brother Beat Him!

A 16-year-old British youngster claimed that after telling his parents and older brother that he was gay, they started beating him, he was in imminent danger. This week, the case…

Read more
'Black Panther 2' Set Accident Letitia Wright Talks Openly About It

‘Black Panther 2’ Set Accident: Letitia Wright Talks Openly About It

In order to digest the “traumatic” accident that occurred to her on the set of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” actress Letitia Wright claimed that she is still receiving treatment. There…

Read more
Is Pizza Hut Open On New Year’s Day

Is Pizza Hut Open On New Year’s Day?

Is Pizza Hut Open On New Year’s Day? and Everything You Need To Know About This Will Be Covered In This Article. As a result, if this interests you, please…

Read more
Andrew Tate Has Already Made The News In 2023 For These 6 Reasons

Andrew Tate Has Already Made The News In 2023 For These 6 Reasons

Most of you have probably seen this someone in the past 12 months, and if you haven’t, you’re in for a wild journey. Tate is equally thrilling, divisive, alluring, and…

Read more