Why Should Primary Care Clinicians Learn to Routinely Examine the Mouth?

A case study and commentary


Most medical schools and primary care residency programs do not teach proper oral examination skills. Despite the existence of proven national oral health curricula for medical professionals, many medical trainees and graduates are ill-equipped to identify oral cancers, make proper referrals, avoid unnecessary referrals, or help patients focus on oral disease prevention. This commentary on a case suggests the importance of educating clinicians to promote and evaluate patients’ oral health and proposes curricula for and reasonable scope of such training.

One of the authors of this article, Hugh Silk, MD, MPH, served on the PCC's advisory group that produced Innovations in Oral Health and Primary Care Integration, a report highlighting the mechanisms and scope of efforts to integrate oral care and primary care.

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