Dental public health

Dental Public Health (DPH) is a para-clinical specialty of dentistry that deals with the prevention of oral disease and promotion of oral health.[1][2] Dental public health is involved in the assessment of key dental health needs and coming up with effective solutions to improve the dental health of populations rather than individuals.[3]

Dental public health seeks to reduce demand on health care systems by redirection of resources to priority areas.[4] Countries around the world all face similar issues in relation to dental disease. Implementation of policies and principles vary due to availability of resources. Similar to public health, an understanding of the many factors that influence health will assist the implementation of effective strategies.[4]

Dental-related diseases are largely preventable. Public health dentistry is practiced generally through government sponsored programs, which are for the most part directed toward public-school children in the belief that their education in oral hygiene is the best way to reach the general public. The pattern for such programs in the past was a dental practitioners annual visit to a school to lecture and to demonstrate proper tooth-brushing techniques. In the 1970s, a more elaborate program emerged. It included a week of one-hour sessions of instruction, demonstration, and questions and answers, conducted by a dentist and a dental assistant and aided by a teacher who had previously been given several hours of instruction. Use was also made of televised dental health education programs, which parents were encouraged to observe.[5]


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