You Might Want to get a New Toothbrush

By American Dental Association, Special for  USDR

An editorial in the December issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) discusses the FDI Dental World Federation’s new definition of oral  health:

“Oral health is multifaceted and includes the ability to speak, smile, smell, taste, touch, chew, swallow, and convey a range of emotions through facial expressions with confidence and without pain, discomfort, and disease of the craniofacial complex,” reads the  definition.

More than 200 national dental organizations, including the American Dental Association, adopted the new  definition.

Traditionally, oral health has been defined as the absence of disease. But as authors of the JADA editorial explain, a new definition was necessary to expand on its many facets and convey oral health as a fundamental human  right.

“A common definition can bring stakeholders together to advocate for the importance of oral health; to influence and shape parameters of care, health policies, research, education, and reimbursement models; and to shape the future of our profession,” wrote Michael Glick, DMD; David M. Williams, BDS, MSc, PhD; Dushanka V. Kleinman, DDS, MScD; Marko Vujicic, PhD; Richard G. Watt, BDS, MSc, PhD; and Robert J. Weyant, DMD,  DrPH.

FDI also defined additional attributes of oral  health:

  • It is a fundamental component of health and physical and mental well-being. It exists along a continuum influenced by the values and attitudes of people and communities.
  • It reflects the physiological, social, and psychological attributes that are essential to the quality of life.
  • It is influenced by the person’s changing experiences, perceptions, expectations, and ability to adapt to circumstances.

For more information on JADA, visit

Editor’s Note: Reporters are invited to follow the ADA on Twitter  @AmerDentalAssn

About the American Dental  Association
The not-for-profit ADA is the nation’s largest dental association, representing more than 159,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public’s health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA’s state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA’s flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA’s consumer website 

SOURCE American Dental  Association

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