Indian Journal of Dental Research

: 2010  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 157-

A common risk approach for oral health promotion and prevention

Kunal C Oswal 
 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Terna Dental College and Hospital, Nerul, Navi - Mumbai, India

Correspondence Address:
Kunal C Oswal
Department of Public Health Dentistry, Terna Dental College and Hospital, Nerul, Navi - Mumbai

How to cite this article:
Oswal KC. A common risk approach for oral health promotion and prevention.Indian J Dent Res 2010;21:157-157

How to cite this URL:
Oswal KC. A common risk approach for oral health promotion and prevention. Indian J Dent Res [serial online] 2010 [cited 2021 May 7 ];21:157-157
Available from:

Full Text

In India, majority of the resources are channelized toward providing curative services. Preventive services are mainly restricted to health education and diagnostic check up. Dental professionals are trying to alter the behaviors that were found to be the cause of the disease. But one of the major criticisms of such measures is that the approach is narrow and isolated, separating the mouth from the rest of the body. The outcome of this approach is mere duplication of the services and conflicting and contradictory messages to the public. Oral health is an important component of general health. [1] It has also become clear that the causative or risk factors in oral disease are often the same as those implicated in the major general diseases. [2] Thus, oral health promotion and oral disease prevention should embrace what is termed "the common risk factor approach", leading to the integration of oral health promotion into broader health promotion. This approach assumes that the chronic, noncommunicable diseases, such as obesity, heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, mental illness, and dental disease, share a common risk. [3] Poor hygiene, tobacco use, stress, trauma, sedentary lifestyle are factors linked to the development of several chronic conditions including oral diseases [Figure 1].

The rationale behind such an approach is that directing action toward these common risks and their underlying social determinants will help to improve a range of chronic conditions. This approach provides a platform to build a partnership particularly in countries with uneven distribution of services.

Rather than focusing solely on high-risk individuals, there is a need for a mix of complementary public health approach focusing on assisting individuals and communities to avoid disease and create supportive environment for a sustainable good health. Policy development, organizational change, community action, and legislation are all approaches that can be used to prevent oral diseases. The combination of these strategies would address the broader social determinants of oral health. In addition, it would be beneficial if the target audience includes the policy makers and key stakeholders as well who would bring about a change for a sustainable and improved oral health. As individual behaviors are influenced by a range of social, psychological, and political factors, they rarely change by good advice alone. The need of the hour is that the dental professionals should work as a team with other medical as well as nonmedical professionals to achieve a healthy society.


1Locker D. Measuring oral health: a conceptual framework. Community Dent Health 1988;5:3-18.
2World Health Organization, Diet, Nutrition and Prevention of Chronic Diseases. Report of a Joint WHO/FAO Expert Consultation. WHO Technical Report Series916. Geneva: WHO; 2003b.
3Sheiham A, Watt R. The common risk approach - A rational basis for promoting oral health. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol 2000;28:399-406.