Community dental health care deals with the promotion of oral health and prevention of oral disease. DPH (Dental Public Health) is involved in the assessment of important dental health needs and finding effective solutions for the improvement of dental health in populations rather than individuals.
Dental related diseases are largely preventable which is why prevention is becoming more and more important to relieve the growing burden on health care systems. Community health dentistry is generally practiced through government-sponsored programs which are mainly directed at children in the public school system in the belief that oral hygiene education at an early age is the best way to reach the general public.
Despite fluoridation and general oral hygiene, tooth decay is still one of the most common diet-related diseases affecting people all over the world. However, it can be easily prevented by brushing the teeth and gums twice a day to reduce acid demineralization after eating. Gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis develop when certain types of bacteria accumulated in dental plaque. Lifestyle-related factors such as poor oral hygiene, insufficient exposure to fluoride, cariogenic bacteria, inappropriate feeding methods in infants, inadequate salivary flow, and poverty are all risk factors for tooth decay.
Dental Healthcare Methods To Prevent Tooth Decay
- Effective brushing of both the teeth and gums twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste can help prevent the progression of dental decay and gum disease and neutralize acids in the mouth.
- Chewing sugar-free gum can help stimulate saliva flow and assist in the remineralization of teeth.
- The use of interdental devices can help prevent gum disease.
- Fissure sealants can be applied to the chewing surfaces of the teeth to prevent plaque from becoming trapped inside the fissures and pits in the grooves of a tooth’s surface.
A reduction of fermentable carbohydrates in the diet (sugar based foods) can help reduce the buildup of plaque.
Many dentists generously give of their time and skills by volunteering for local or state oral health care programs such as “Give Kids a Smile” and “Missions of Mercy” and some go beyond these special events to take leadership in the improvement of oral health in their communities. By improving access to dental care, building beneficial coalitions within the profession, and enhancing oral health literacy, one dentist can go a long way in bringing about oral health integration in a local community. It is also good business for dental physicians. Whether they are providing dental education at schools or gifting mouth guards for athletic teams, their services will be beneficial to the entire community and reflect well on their profession and business.
To this end, the ADA has created a toolkit comprised of dozens of helpful links intended to encourage local dentists to take a proactive role in ensuring that oral health becomes an integral part of improving the overall health of people in their communities.