Missed Connections: Providers and Consumers Want More Medical-Dental Integration

Published 02/24/2022

We know that oral health and overall health are inextricably linked. But despite this connection, dental care is still largely siloed from medical care.  

A visual report from CareQuest Institute examines attitudes regarding the relationship between oral health and overall health, based on national surveys of oral health consumers and providers. Both consumers and dental providers described a lack of integration between medical and oral health care, and a desire for increased interprofessional collaboration. Some illuminating findings: 

  • 63% of adults say their primary medical doctor “never” or “rarely” asks about their oral health. 
  • While only one third (34%) of oral health providers say they currently screen patients for diabetes, more than half (51%) would be more willing to screen if they had better tools to identify those at risk for diabetes.  
  • 30% of adults would be more likely to seek dental care if their dentist and doctor were located in the same place. 

The survey results showed that both consumers and providers understand the connection between oral health and overall health and are eager for changes to the system.     

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