Inequity Along the Medical/Dental Divide

AMA Journal of Ethics
Volume 24, Number 1: E1-105 Jan 2022


Inequity Along the Medical/Dental Divide
Dental and medical health systems in the United States have evolved as fully separate entities. This division exacerbates health inequity, since patients’ poor oral health affects their general health. The professionally entrenched view that what’s in patients’ mouths is somehow isolated from what’s going on in the rest of their bodies is one all clinicians need to resist, since this view can be a source of harm, particularly among vulnerable patients and communities. Practical and ethical strategies for better aligning medical and dental goals of care are considered in this issue.