Changing oral care needs in the United States: The continuing need for oral medicine

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Objective. The purpose of this article is to provide oral care providers evidence of oral conditions and medical compromise that is impacting the oral health and oral health needs of the public. Design. Data were analyzed based on current epidemiologic data, derived in large part from the Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, the National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey Series 1994-1997; American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute Surveillance Examination and End Results data base, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports, peer-reviewed publications, and surveys of oral medicine-related disorders. Results. Millions of Americans have medical conditions that complicate their oral health care. Oral health problems associated with age, medical health and treatment, and institutional setting are increasing. Chronic orofacial pain, persistent oral soft tissue lesions, and salivary gland and chemosensory disorders are common problems of modern society. Conclusions. Evidence suggests that the next decade will bring a significantly increased demand for diagnosis and management of patients with oral conditions and patients with oral manifestations of systemic conditions, and an increase in general oral care needs of patients who are medically compromised. These increasing demands should be reflected in dental education and continuing education.

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