The role of communication and oral health literacy in prevention and promotion of oral health
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Dental care prevention involves prophylactic oral health practices and strategies that are primarily targeted to diseases of the oral tissues with the focus on prevention of certain conditions. Not enough attention has been given to the communication between the dentist and the patient as well as the ability or the inability to understand patient's health information. The aim of this paper is to present the current practices and regulations related to the effective communication between oral healthcare professionals and patient population, and their representation and influence in improving and raising the profile of the oral health on a national level. Materials and method:A systematic literature search was conducted including published scientific articles between 1977 and 2018. Studies discussing the improvement of oral health in the function of general health and well-being in the patient population of all ages were analyzed. The main focus was put on the commitment of the oral health community in the global agenda and the importance of integrating multifactorial approaches to prevention. Particular attention was paid to the representation of the skills for effective communication between health care professionals and patient population, and the medical education (health education), which should result in the individual's health literacy. Results: During the global struggle to improve the oral health, efforts are being made to enhance current practices and share knowledge about preventive care and treatment in oral health science and education in order to ensure the general health and well-being of the patient population of all ages. Unfortunately, the commitment to take action in raising effective communication and oral health literacy is minimal. Conclusion: Improving the communication between the oral health care professionals and the patient population in the direction of an interactive, dynamic and flexible process, as well as raising the level of oral health literacy among the population through targeted and carefully developed medical education should be the first step in any preventive program for raising the level of oral health.
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