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Time to Talk About – Teaching Oral Health in Medical Schools

Since our goals here at The Dental Health is to educate, inform, and provide guidance, and since most people visit their MD far more often than their dentist, we think it’s time to talk about the amount of oral health education that takes place in medical schools. After all, if you're seeking medical advice on any subject, it makes sense to ask your MD, right?

Well, when it comes to questions about the oral health of you and your family, not so much!

Most physicians receive little to no oral health training**

According to a 2011 study posted at the Academic Medicine website for the Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges, while it is widely recognized that, "Good oral health is an important aspect of good overall health," they also found that "Past studies show physicians have had limited oral health training."

For proof of this, the study offered the following statistics from the 88 schools that responded:

  • 69% of medical schools reported offering less than five hours of oral health curriculum
  • 10% of medical schools offered no curriculum
  • Oral Health topics covered in medical schools ranged from 10% teaching hands-on skills training to 82% covering oral cancers
  • Only 30% of medical schools reported evaluating students around oral health topics
  • School location and having a dental school and/or residency were not significantly related to the number of hours of oral health curriculum
  • Schools with greater than 150 students per class were more likely to offer five or more hours of oral health curriculum compared with small or midsize schools

In conclusion, the study offered this, "The majority of the responding U.S. medical schools offer very little oral health education. There are few meaningful correlations as to what contributes to schools having a more robust curriculum. Further study is needed to explore how to improve this educational void." You think?

When it comes to oral health education and training, your MD may have had none at all, while your dentist has had years of higher education, and your prosthodontist must complete an additional three years of training beyond receipt of a dental degree. The long and short of it is, if you have any questions on the oral health of yourself or your family, you should ask them of a true dental professional.

The doctors and staff at The Colorado Center for Implant and Prosthetic Dentistry are available to help you determine effective solutions to all of your dental problems. If you would like more information from your Littleton area Prosthodontist, please call to make an appointment today.

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