AAFP Supports Integration of Oral Health Into Primary Care

The AAFP has thrown its support behind a new model for delivering preventive oral health care as a component of routine medical care and enhancing partnerships between primary care and dentistry. The model, dubbed the Oral Health Delivery Framework, was presented in a white paper (www.safetynetmedicalhome.org) titled Oral Health: An Essential Component of Primary Care, which was released earlier this year by population health care consultant Qualis Health. 

The framework has been endorsed by nearly a score of health care and dental professional, public health and advocacy organizations.

The paper reviews the cost and consequences of oral disease, presents the Oral Health Delivery Framework with suggested actions to help primary care teams promote oral health, and offers guidance for primary care and dental teams that want to partner with one another.

"Oral disease is largely preventable and can complicate the management of other chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease," said Qualis Health President and CEO Jonathan Sugarman, M.D., M.P.H., in a news release. "Engaging primary care teams in oral health is a critical strategy for reducing the impact of oral diseases and improving population health."

Mark Deutchman, M.D., professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus School of Medicine in Aurora, helped develop the Oral Health Delivery Framework along with family physicians Bruce Bagley, M.D., and Russell Maier, M.D.

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