Oral Health Series Part II: How Oral Healthcare Impacts Socialization

This is Part II of the Oral Health Series focusing on, how oral healthcare impacts socialization. In Part III I will explore the  impact of Oral Health on vocational pursuits.

Based on a university colloquium presented by Associate Professor, Dr. Vaishali Singhal called, “Oral Implications of Psychiatric Disorders” I wanted to research more about the social implications regarding a lack of oral healthcare not limited to people living with mental illness and or addiction concerns.

According to Robert Anders, “Beyond physical problems, having bad teeth can cause psychological issues. After all, your mouth is usually a point of focus when socializing, whether you are talking, flashing a smile, or twisting a scowl.” Anders notes ways bad teeth can trigger psychological issues http://publichealthbugle.com/2012/07/smile/.

• Anxiety, especially when socializing:
• Low self-esteem:
• Depression:

Medicaid coverage varies statewide for routine and preventative dental coverage and some state programs are limited to only teeth extractions seemingly a major foundation of social complexities impacting oral healthcare treatment. People may also not prioritize dental health because of lifestyle behaviors, such as access, tobacco use, frequency of alcohol use, illness, fear, cost, and poor dietary choices. It is difficult for anyone not beginning at a young age to effectively manage oral healthcare though important to begin as soon as possible.

One tool to address the social factors and environment of oral healthcare is by a center for disease control (CDC) model. I’ve outline its action steps:

Action 1. Change perceptions of oral health.

Action 2. Overcome barriers by replicating effective program and proven efforts.

Action 3. Build the science base and accelerate science transfer.
Action 4. Increase oral health workforce diversity, capacity, and flexibility.
Action 5. Increase collaborations.

Here is a link to help better help person served and ourselves, a website that collects information on free medical and dental care in every state, links to free and reduced-rate medical services for both children and adults.

George Brice

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