- The mouth is part of the body
- Cavities and gum disease are the result of a bacterial infection in the mouth
- Dental disease is preventable
- Oral health literacy is everybody’s business
As part of my presentation, I also spoke about my personal experience volunteering at a Mission of Mercy free clinic in rural Virginia. It is impossible to overstate the desperation and gratitude that I saw. I left with a different perspective on our current care delivery system. People are being left behind. People don’t have the information they need to be healthy.
- Everyone has a stake in oral health literacy.
- Health literacy is based on genuine compassion and care. We all need a sense of empathy to meet people where they are, to listen to, learn from, and respect one another
- Prevention is the starting point for health.
- We need to use simple, clear and consistent educational messages if we are to motivate action to improve their oral health. It is important to be patient-centered and respectful of cultures, languages and customs.