Why Are Family Doctors Still Not Addressing Oral Health?

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Article, Peer-reviewed

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Oral health dramatically affects overall health and vice versa. Oral health is a key health indicator for Healthy People 2030. Yet family physicians are not addressing this important health issue at the same level they address other essential health problems. Studies show that family medicine training and clinical activities are lacking in the area of oral health. The reasons are multi-factorial including insufficient reimbursement, lack of accreditation emphasis, and poor medical-dental communication. There is hope. Robust oral health curricula for family doctors exist and efforts are being made to create primary care oral health education champions. The tide is turning on accountable care organizations adding oral health services, access, and outcomes to their systems. Like behavioral health, oral health can be fully integrated into the care family physicians offer.

Keywords: family medicine; mouth diseases; oral diagnosis; oral health.