School of Medicine
A Study Guide
for Medical Students & Physicians
- Author(s): Mendoza, Annette
- et al.
Oral disease continues to be an epidemic in the U.S., affecting people of all age groups. Dental Caries is the single most common chronic childhood disease--five times more chronic than asthma. Oral and pharyngeal cancers are diagnosed in about 30,000 Americans annually, mostly in the elderly and with poor prognosis. Studies have shown a link between periodontal diseases and a variety of other medical problems such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and adverse pregnancy outcomes. In addition, oral disease can greatly affect our quality of life given that it can affect our ability to eat, the types of foods we choose to eat, our facial appearance, and our ability to communicate. In the last decade, there has been recognition on the neglect of oral health in medical training and in medicine due to the separation of oral health from systemic health. Some additional barriers to oral health include a lack of access to care (due to limited income or lack of insurance), transportation, or the flexibility to take time off from work or leave other responsibilities. According to the CDC, iti s found that people of color (particularly black and Hispanic), poverty, low income, modest education, and disability have higher oral disease rates than more socially advantaged populations. Often times these patients rely on their primary care provider for their oral health. That is why many initiatives have been developed to provide educational resources to enhance the role of the clinician's training in the promotion of oral health. With these initiatives including the development of this study guide, there is hope that we will begin to see better outcomes in our patients through better trained medical providers.