Oral health is the measure of a just society

Henrie M. Treadwell, Mary Northridge

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Former Surgeon General David Satcher's report, Oral Health in America, documents the higher burden of oral diseases and conditions borne by those with relatively low social standing at each stage of life. When an entire community suffers from a health concern, that concern becomes a social justice issue. Racial and ethnic minorities, prisoners, and seniors suffer disproportionately from oral diseases and conditions due to societal prejudices that place them at risk over and above any risk associated with their economic means. Community-based delivery models that involve the community in planning and implementation, build upon the existing health safety net to link oral health services with primary care, and change public or institutional policy to support the financing and delivery of oral health care have proven successful. Here we champion the need for a national health plan that includes oral health care to promote social justice and oral health for all.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-20
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of health care for the poor and underserved
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2007


  • Community health services
  • Dental health
  • Health care reform
  • Health policy
  • Medically underserved areas
  • Oral health
  • Prisoners
  • Racial and ethnic minorities
  • Seniors
  • Social justice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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