• Oral Health

    As the first line of defense against preventable illness and disease, you play a key role in promoting good oral health during patient visits. The AAFP offers clinical resources to help you discuss the health risks associated with developing oral disease.

    Assess Oral Health Risks

    Oral diseases, including tooth decay, gum disease and cancer, facial pain, and oral and pharyngeal cancers, affect millions of Americans every year, but many of these health issues go undiagnosed or untreated.

    Your primary care team should play a role in preventing oral disease and promoting oral health in patients of all ages. Quickly assess oral health risks with questions that determine how to prevent systemic health issues associated with oral diseases.

    Screening Questions  

    • How often do you brush and floss?
    • How often do you visit a dentist?
    • Do you see a dentist regularly?
    • Do your gums bleed when you brush your teeth?
    • What medications are you currently taking? (Some can cause dry mouth.)
    • Where do you get your drinking water? Tap, filters, bottles, etc.?
    • Do you smoke or use other tobacco products?
    • How many sugary drinks (fruit juice or soda, for example) do you consume per day?


    AAFP Resources

    Clinical Preventive Services Recommendations



    AAFP Partnerships for Oral Health

    The AAFP is strengthening its relationships with other health professionals and organizations. These collaborations will offer information to ensure your patients understand that dental health is a crucial part of their overall health.

    • The AAFP supports the American Dental Association's Action for Dental Health initiative to prevent dental disease before it starts and reduce the proportion of adults and children with untreated dental disease. This partnership includes collaboration on oral health messaging for health care professionals and their patients.
    • AAFP is working with the Society for Teachers of Family Medicine to promote Smiles for Life, a comprehensive oral health curriculum. Family medicine faculty and family physicians can access online courses, downloadable content, information about prevention programs by state, and learn about incorporating oral health services into classrooms and family practice settings.
    • Fluoride has been shown to strengthen teeth and prevent tooth decay, yet many patients have concerns about its use. The Campaign for Dental Health can help you educate patients about the benefits and safety of drinking fluoridated water.