Oral Health Series Part III: How Oral Healthcare Impacts Vocational Pursuits

This post focuses on how oral healthcare impacts vocational pursuits the last of a three-part series on ORAL HEALTH that began with discussing, the importance of partnering, collaborating and identifying strategies, interventions, and resources to better engage people living with psychiatric disorders about their oral hygiene and Part II how oral healthcare impacts socialization. Based on attending a university colloquium presented by Associate Professor, Dr. Vaishali Singhal called, “Oral Implications of Psychiatric Disorders” I wanted to research more about the vocational implications regarding a lack of oral healthcare not limited to people living with mental illness and/or addiction concerns. While researching I was reminded about a presentation with a colleague on “Wellness and Recovery.”

During the presentation we were informed about a program participant who was receiving pre-vocational services at a partial care program. This person was very active in employment related activities on site, such as identifying work goals, developing a résumé, and practicing interviewing skills. After many months, staff learned that the person was not applying for jobs because he was ashamed and reluctant to mention his missing two front teeth were an emotional, physical, and financial barrier. This article called, “Do missing teeth affect job seekers?” was informative and resourceful. The author Lori Herbert had thoughtfully and empathetically described people’s plight to improve their teeth in a society that seems to usually value physical appearance. Furthermore, she offered potentially reduced dental cost resources to explore in one’s own state. These types of dental circumstances can cause perceived and real challenges of:

  1. Low self esteem
  2. Feeling ashamed
  3. Stigmatized
  4. Isolation and loneliness
  5. Fearfulness

According to a  report from February 29, 2012 called, “Dental Crisis in America/The Need to Expand Access,”  the U.S. Surgeon General’s report, “Oral Health in America,” was cited as stating: students missed 51 million hours of school and employed adults lose more than 164 million hours of work each year due to dental disease or dental visits. I believe you will find the report an insightful read addressing the complexities of accessing oral healthcare for all people and strategies and interventions to help lessen the problem. The U.S. Surgeon General (2000) referred to dental disease as a “silent epidemic.”

What areas of the three-part series on Oral Hygiene did you find most important? Share how you will use these strategies and interventions personally and professionally?

George H. Brice, Jr.

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