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How Does Dentistry Relate to Public Health?

Thursday, April 27, 2017  
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How Does Dentistry Relate to Public Health?

Submitted by: Paul E. Scruggs, DDS, Pa, Wake County Human Services Board (NC)

It is without question that a healthy oral cavity is part of overall health. Dental Caries lead to pulpal infections can lead to serious and sometimes life threatening infectious disease. A recent cover story in the Journal of the American Dental Association highlights the phenomenon our emergency departments receiving high numbers of patients for dental emergencies. It is also well documented that chronic periodontal disease can lead to a host of general medical conditions. It is critical that dentistry remain a key component to public health departments and boards, to keep the health community abreast of current information. Our county has always had a dental member on the Human Services Board and my predecessor was a Pediatric Dentist. When I attend board meetings my daily practice can easily be extrapolated to the community population and I believe that I can offer information that is not available through any other members of our board. Also, in return, when I hear the public health reports about health trends such as obesity, STD’s, and communicable diseases, I can relate that information to the dental community through my close association with local and national organized dentistry. To me, this is the essence of public health.

My service on the Wake County Human Services Board has been a very fulfilling yet eye-opening experience on the complexity of public health, social services and people they serve. I believe that all local health boards should have representation from dentistry to serve as a resource when needed due to the close tie between dental/oral health and general health. To view more about Dr. Paul Scruggs, please click here.