Why a pandemic response should include dentistry

dentistry during pandemic
Photo: belchonock – 123rf

Adequate government funding could ensure that as a frontline health service, dentistry is well-placed to triage patients—during a pandemic or otherwise, say dental practice and policy experts. 

The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the isolation of dental healthcare from the rest of Australia’s health system, despite strong links between oral health and people’s physical function, general health and social integration.

This led experts from the University of Sydney to shine new light on the potential role of dentistry in the broader health system, both during and beyond the current pandemic. 

Because dentists, unlike other healthcare professionals, see patients who are otherwise generally well, dental practices across urban, rural and remote communities are uniquely positioned to act as hubs for tracking community health.

Reimagining the dental profession could increase the resilience of the wider healthcare system across Australia in times of pandemic and beyond.

Dr Alexander Holden, Professor Heiko Spallek and Professor Ramon Shaban sought to address this fundamental matter in a new Policy Paper published by the Sydney Policy Lab. Among a range of suggestions, the authors propose that dental clinics become community hubs for health surveillance, helping to support appropriate and timely testing and triage within primary healthcare settings.

This article was sourced from the University of Sydney website.

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