Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General
The major message of the Surgeon General's report (exit DHS) is that oral health is essential to the general health and well-being of all Americans and can be achieved by all Americans. However, not all Americans are achieving the same degree of oral health. In spite of the safe and effective means of maintaining oral health that have benefited the majority of Americans over the past half century, many among us still experience needless pain and suffering, complications that devastate overall health and well-being, and financial and social costs that diminish the quality of life and burden American society. What amounts to "a silent epidemic" of oral diseases is affecting our most vulnerable citizens - poor children, the elderly, and many members of racial and ethnic minority groups.
The major themes of the report are:
- that oral health means much more than healthy teeth
- that oral health is integral to general health
- that safe and effective disease prevention measures exist that everyone can adopt to improve oral health and prevent disease
- that general health risk factors, such as tobacco use and poor dietary practices, also affect oral and craniofacial health