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J Dent Educ. 2017 Aug;81(8):eS171-eS179. doi: 10.21815/JDE.017.024.

The Future of Oral Health Care Provided by Physicians and Allied Professionals.

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Dr. Silk is Professor, University of Massachusetts Medical School.


Medical providers of all types are beginning to engage in oral health, both academically and in practice. The process has been slow; however, momentum has increased over the past two decades as major health care organizations have emphasized the importance of oral health as a vital part of overall health. This article begins by defining which health providers have and should engage the public in oral health and then briefly reviews the influences that have led health professionals to address oral health in education and practice. This overview is followed by an examination of current trends and successes in oral health education in the health sciences, why oral health is a natural fit for medical care, and the need for a comprehensive approach. The article concludes by exploring roles for each profession and addressing the resources and political will that will be required to meet common goals. This article was written as part of the project "Advancing Dental Education in the 21st Century."


dental education; health education; interprofessional practice; medical education; oral health; physicians

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