The new definition is “oral health is multifaceted 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.”
The FDI comprises over 200 national dental organizations and no longer wants oral health to just mean the absence of disease. They have recognized that oral health is part of the bigger picture of the whole human body. They reported recognizing that “oral health does not occur in isolation, but is an important part of overall health and well-being.”
I’m thrilled that oral health has been given a broader definition because for years I have spoken to patient about the importance of their dental health. We speak about the oral-systemic connection and the value of a balanced, healthy, competent dental complex. We talk about the role that correct facial growth plays in supporting proper breathing and digestion. Daily we discuss gum disease prevention to reduce systemic inflammation.
One of the goals of the new definition is for individuals to begin to “value their oral health,” so I implore you, realize the importance of your oral health and its impact on your overall health.