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Preventive Task Force Finds Mixed Results for Oral Disease Screening in Primary Care Settings


The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has highlighted the limitations of routine screenings for dental caries and periodontal diseases in primary care settings, as they may not effectively identify individuals at the highest risk for these conditions. In a recent statement published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the USPSTF noted that efforts to promote oral health may also fail to reach those who need the message the most. While the task force does not recommend stopping all oral health screening or discussions in primary care, the current evidence on the most effective screening methods and enhancement strategies in these settings is deemed “inconclusive” (I). The USPSTF suggests that primary care clinicians should promptly refer patients with oral health problems to dental providers but the appropriate course of action for patients without evident oral health issues remains uncertain, pending further research. The USPSTF’s “I” rating reflects the need for more research in this area to establish clearer guidelines for primary care clinicians. Click here to read more.

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