Definition of ‘Oral Health’ Gets a Facelift

The definition of “oral health” has be updated, and according to the American Dental Association, the new clarification was necessary to include the many facets of oral health and to convey it better as a fundamental human right.

Traditionally, oral health has been defined as the absence of disease. The new definition is much more extensive:

“Oral health is multifaceted and includes the ability to speak, smile, smell, taste, touch, chew, swallow, and convey a range of emotions through facial expressions with confidence and without pain, discomfort, and disease of the craniofacial complex.”

According to a recent Dental Tribune article, more than 200 national dental organizations, including the American Dental Association, have adopted the new definition, which was written by the FDI Dental World Federation.

The FDI also included other attributes of oral health in its definition overhaul. They include:

  • It is a fundamental component of health and physical and mental well-being. It exists along a continuum influenced by the values and attitudes of people and communities.
  • It reflects the physiological, social, and psychological attributes that are essential to the quality of life.
  • It is influenced by the person’s changing experiences, perceptions, expectations, and ability to adapt to circumstances.

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