My SmileGuide - Health Literacy - MySmileGuideU, Oral health assessment, health literacy and online tools

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Dr. Fred Ferguson, D.D.S.
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Functional Medicine*, a method to improve patient care through enhanced provider-patient relationship, can be greatly facilitated if all health providers had good oral health awareness.

Data from oral health assessment and timely dental visit examination outcomes provides important benefits to patient care and practice management: provide accountability in the health care system, facilitate prevention and reduce costs and claims for the common chronic health concerns such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular problems.

Beginning in early childhood, tooth decay is the most common chronic illness linked to daily habits, childcare and self-care practices and lifestyle choices**. With age, poor oral health and its age related threats are co-morbidities with common chronic health problems such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory illness***. Poor oral health severely impacts the quality of life for people who suffer from chronic illness***.

Good oral health improves patient care across all health professional domains. Oral health assessments are a reliable method for patients and caregivers to monitor and track their (family member’s) oral health over time, promote timely dental visits, and reinforce the value of good oral health care as an essential part of a patient’s health care plan.

References:
* The Institute of Functional Medicine http://www.functionalmedicine.org/about/whatisfm/
** Centers for Disease Control and American Association of Pediatrics Oral Health Risk Assessment Policy Statement (2003)
*** Surgeon General's Oral Health Report (2000)