Oral Health In America: Summary of the Surgeon General's Report
The major message of
the report is that oral health means much more than healthy teeth, and is
integral to the general health and well-being of all Americans. Oral
health must be included in the provision of health care and design of
Safe and effective
means of maintaining oral health that everyone can adopt to improve oral
health and prevent disease have benefited the majority of Americans over
the past half century. However, many experience needless pain and
suffering, complications that can devastate overall health and well-being,
and financial and social costs that significantly diminish the quality of
Action at all levels of
society, from individuals to communities and the Nation as a whole, are
needed to maintain the health and well-being of Americans already enjoying
good oral health and to address the disparities in oral health status. A
coordinated effort can overcome the educational, environmental, social,
health systems and financial barriers that have created vulnerable
populations whose oral health is at risk.
Oral diseases and
disorders in and of themselves affect health and well-being through
There are safe and
effective measures to prevent the most common dental diseases –
dental caries and periodontal diseases.
that affect general health such as tobacco use, excessive alcohol use,
and poor dietary choices affect oral and craniofacial health as well.
There are profound
and consequential oral health disparities within the American
More information is
needed to improve America’s oral health and eliminate health
The mouth reflects
general health and well-being.
Oral diseases and
conditions are associated with other health problems.
is key to further reduction in the burden of diseases and disorders
that affect the face, mouth, and teeth.
Framework for Action
The report provides a
framework for action and suggests that a National Oral Health Plan be
developed to improve quality of life and to eliminate health disparities.
Specifically the report suggests the following components of the plan:
regarding oral health and disease so that oral health becomes an
accepted component of general health.
building of the science and evidence base and apply science
effectively to improve oral health.
Build an effective
health infrastructure that meets the oral health needs of all
Americans and integrates oral health effectively into overall health.
barriers between people and oral health services.
partnerships to improve the oral health of those who still suffer
disproportionately from oral diseases.