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Dr. David Satcher, a former U.S. Surgeon General and current dental hygiene advocate, recently spoke with national media organization CBSNews about his concerns relating to oral health in America.

The conversation comes on the heels of a speech Dr. Satcher gave at a conference sponsored by the Morehouse School of Medicine, during which the dentist spoke about the relation between dental hygiene and overall personal health.

“We have tended not to see oral health as a part of overall health and well-being,” Dr. Satcher said in the interview. “Too often it is viewed as the teeth and the gums and nothing else.”

Dr. Satcher went on to detail that the past 50 years have seen substantial improvements in oral health, including a rise in the number of Americans under the age of 55 who still possess their natural teeth.

However, he said, problems persist, and pointed to recent data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggesting that roughly 40 percent of Hispanic-American children suffer from dental ailments that remain untreated. Dr. Satcher proposed initiatives designed to educate parents about the importance of oral hygiene, and that good habits, like brushing and flossing regularly, can significantly improve the general health of Americans.

He also suggested that the dental care industry open up to include hygiene therapists who can provide care on the social end of the spectrum to increase access and awareness about the vital nature of oral health.

Access to quality dental services is an important part of anyone’s personal care regime. Whether a person needs emergency dental treatment or family dentistry for their loved ones, making time to contact a local oral care practice can translate into a big improvement in overall health and well-being.

 

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