The health of your mouth, teeth and gums provides clues about the overall condition of your body. Dentistry, gum disease and jaw disorders can reveal nutritional deficiencies or general infection, and systemic diseases like heart disease, stroke and diabetes may first show up as mouth lesions.
Good oral health is essential to your quality of life. It allows you to enjoy foods and express emotions. It can improve your self-esteem and even affect your ability to work or study. It is also associated with general health and well-being across the lifespan.
Oral and maxillofacial (jaw and face) anatomy and function are interconnected, with each part having a unique role. A healthy smile is more than just white, straight teeth and a nice bite; it is the result of an integrated team of health professionals who provide preventive care, perform restorative treatments, and educate patients on optimal oral hygiene practices.
Dentistry oral health workforce is comprised of dentists, dental hygienists and assistants, dental technicians, and dental laboratory professionals. Preventive dentistry includes daily tooth brushing and flossing, and regular visits to the dentist for cleanings and examinations. These routine activities help to remove plaque, a colorless film of bacteria, which causes tooth decay and gum disease. It also helps detect and intercept problems like crooked or missing teeth, which can be treated with braces and other therapeutic options.
Treatments for dental problems are offered by a range of specialists: dentists, periodontists, endodontists, prosthodontists and orthodonticians. Orthodontic specialists treat misaligned or crowded teeth, a crooked palate and other conditions that can interfere with chewing and eating. Specialists also offer a variety of cosmetic procedures that improve the appearance of a person’s smile, such as veneers and crowns.
Although most people can avoid oral diseases with regular visits to the dentist and practicing good oral hygiene, many are not able to access or afford dental services. The most common barriers to receiving preventive and restorative dental care include cost, lack of insurance or access to affordable plans, and limited transportation. This is particularly true for rural and low income populations, who have the highest burden of oral diseases.
States can meet Healthy People oral health objectives by reducing barriers to dental care. For example, they can increase the number of providers and expand their scope of practice, relax supervision requirements, and support teledentistry. Additionally, they can ensure that oral health is included in public benefit programs and encourage dentists to work in federally qualified health centers. Nevertheless, this study has several limitations: it is cross-sectional, and only University students were surveyed; therefore, the results of this investigation may not be representative of young adults in general. Additionally, this survey used a self-assessment rather than an objective clinical examination; consequently, it is difficult to draw causal conclusions from the data. However, the findings of this study are still important and should be considered. Future research is needed to examine a range of behavioral, socioeconomic and health risk factors that influence oral health.