Traditionally, oral health has been defined as the absence of dental disease. Recently however, the FDI World Dental Federation broadened the definition of the term “oral health”. During the prelude to its Annual World Dental Congress in Poznań, Poland, the organization expressed the idea that oral health be considered an integral part of general health and well-being.

Previously, even the broadest definition for the American Dental Association (ADA) was not as comprehensive or far-reaching as the one developed in Poznań. The DA definition has been:

“Oral health is a functional, structural, aesthetic, physiologic and psychosocial state of well-being and is essential to an individual’s general health and quality of life.” (ADA Policy)

Many found this definition limiting, thinking that a new definition was necessary to expand on its many facets and convey oral health as a fundamental human right.

Oral Health Redefined

“We are proposing a contemporary definition of oral health, which resonates with that used by many national dental associations and the World Health Organization,” said Dr. Michael Glick, co-chair of FDI’s Vision 2020 think tank, The Journal of the American Dental Association editor and professor and William M. Feagans chair at the School of Dental Medicine at the State University of New York University at Buffalo, in a news release. “It is therefore not a revolution, but an evolution.” (

As defined by FDI, oral health:

  • Is multi-faceted and includes the ability to speak, smile, smell, taste, touch, chew, swallow and convey a range of emotions through facial expressions with confidence and without pain, discomfort and disease of the craniofacial complex.
  • Is a fundamental component of health and physical and mental wellbeing. It exists along a continuum influenced by the values and attitudes of individuals and communities.
  • Reflects the physiological, social and psychological attributes that are essential to the quality of life.
  • Is influenced by the individual’s changing experiences, perceptions, expectations and ability to adapt to circumstances.

The doctors and staff at The Colorado Center for Implant and Prosthetic Dentistry are available to help you determine effective solutions to all 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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