York U study first to show links between determinants of oral and general health

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Research out of York University is the first to explicitly show links between the determinants of oral health and general health.

Professor Dennis Raphael, of the School of Health Policy and Management in the Faculty of Health, has published an article in the Journal of Public Health that identifies that oral and general health have common risk conditions of material and social deprivation, stress and maladaptive coping behaviours.

Dennis Raphael
Dennis Raphael

The study, “Narrative Review of Affinities and Differences between the Social Determinants of Oral and General Health in Canada: Establishing a Common Agenda,” published in Oxford University Press’ Journal of Public Health, highlights that unlike the situation regarding health care in Canada, dental care is not provided on a universal basis, thus exacerbating oral health inequalities between advantaged and disadvantaged Canadians.

“Oral health is as important to human well-being as the physical and mental health domains. Action is required on two fronts: promoting a more equitable distribution of the social determinants of health to improve living and working conditions; and providing access to oral health care to those unable to access it,” said Raphael.

Canadian health research has identified how Canadians’ living and working conditions – the social determinants of health – are the best predictors of a whole range of physical and mental afflictions, with poverty being an especially strong predictor of disease, injury and early death. It is less known that Canadian researchers had made significant contributions in the parallel areas of the social determinants of oral health and reducing oral health inequalities.

Raphael used a literature search of Canadian journal articles addressing social determinants of oral health and/or oral health inequalities to conduct the study. His analysis identified a need for a collaborative research agenda into common social determinants of oral and general health, as well as policy advocacy efforts to improve Canadians’ living and working conditions.

The study can be read online: academic.oup.com/jpubhealth/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/pubmed/fdy152/5085240?redirectedFrom=fulltext.