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Open Access A paradigm shift in models of oral health care: An example and a call to action

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The consequences of oral disease are wide-ranging and can have a major impact on an individual’s and that person’s family’s quality of life. A range of factors interact to determine a person’s oral and general health. Such factors can be biological, social, economic, political, cultural, or environmental, in addition to knowledge, attitudes and behaviors. Traditional models of oral health care, however, have generally ignored these factors and instead have focused on the treatment and management of existing pathology (tertiary prevention/downstream approach). This has had no effect on the rate of hospitalization or the inequitable distribution of dental diseases. To reduce the prevalence and severity of oral diseases at the individual and population levels, holistic evidence-informed prevention-based health-promoting models of care that focus on upstream determinants of health are required. The Oral Health Program at North Richmond Community Health in the state of Victoria, Australia, has developed an innovative model of oral health care based on the following principles: health promotion, disease prevention, risk-based access to care, client- and family-centered care, team-based provision of care, multidisciplinary care, and innovation. Evaluation of this approach is currently being conducted to study the sustainability of such a model under the current public dental service funding model.

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Keywords: Delivery of health care; dental health services; dentistry; health promotion; oral health

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 December 2015

This article was made available online on 14 October 2015 as a Fast Track article with title: "A paradigm shift in models of oral health care: an example and a call to action".

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  • Family Medicine and Community Health (FMCH) is an open-access journal focusing on subjects that are common and relevant to family medicine/general practice and community health. The journal publishes relevant content across disciplines such as epidemiology, public health, social and preventive medicine, research and evidence based medicine, community health service, patient education and health promotion and health ethics. The journal has a specific focus on the management of chronic illness particularly diabetes, ischaemic heart disease, chronic heart failure, hypertension, bronchial asthma, chronic obstructive airways disease and common mental illness. FMCH is published by Compuscript http://www.compuscript.com on behalf of the Chinese General Practice Press http://www.chinagp.net.

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