Primary Dental Health Care

Timothy Martinez DMD

October 20, 2022

Health Care

Primary oral health care is a vital component of comprehensive health care. Developing and disseminating clinical guidelines are essential for improving the quality of clinical care. Unfortunately, primary oral health care is underutilized by many populations, and the referral process can be a challenge for both patients and providers. Below are some important facts about primary oral care.

Evolution-Health Care

Integrating oral health care services with primary care services is a relatively new phenomenon. According to a paper commissioned by the Roundtable on Health Literacy, integration of oral health and primary care is still at an early stage in the United States, with most integration efforts targeting pediatric populations, managed care organizations, and community clinics. This lack of integration results in large segments of the population lacking access to comprehensive health services.


The primary oral approach aims to empower individuals to improve their oral health, promote equity, and prevent disease through education, communication, and interprofessional collaboration. In addition, it addresses the risks associated with oral diseases, including poor diet and oral hygiene, tobacco use, alcohol consumption, stress, and trauma.

Barriers to referrals

The challenges of making referrals in primary oral are numerous. In some settings, primary care clinicians do not have the necessary training or technology to facilitate referrals. Likewise, coordinating referrals between dental and primary care providers is often difficult. The lack of common information and data management systems and the lack of materials to educate patients about referral and staff buy-in are all challenges that can hinder effective linkage.

Examples of referral programs-Health Care

There are several examples of referral programs for primary oral. These programs may help patients connect with the right providers for the care they need. Unfortunately, although these programs are gaining popularity, many barriers remain to effective linkage. These barriers include inadequate reimbursement, a lack of clinical knowledge, and staff buy-in.

Importance for low health literacy populations

Improving access to primary oral health care for low health literacy populations has many benefits. For example, dental is a key component of overall health, and the integration of dental care into primary improves communication between healthcare providers. This integration also improves patient integration and the overall care of people with chronic diseases.

Importance for healthy development

While the importance of oral is recognized worldwide, the integration into Primary policies remains elusive. Although there is a common risk factors approach. Most policies have not been designed to integrate oral health into general health. In addition, the costs of oral health services are often high. The focus is not often on the primary prevention of oral diseases. As such oral remains largely the domain of dentists and hospitals in urban areas.

Importance for ageing-Health Care

The World Health Organization defines healthy ageing as “the process of promoting optimal health and functional capacity. Thereby allowing individuals to enjoy a quality of life as they age.” Oral health is an important component of healthy ageing because it impacts the body throughout life and promotes good nutrition, safer swallowing, and prevention of infections.