Statement examines future directions of behavioral and social sciences in oral health


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The behavioral and social sciences are essential for understanding and treating dental, oral, and craniofacial health, diseases, and conditions, and are relevant to all disciplines of dentistry. The “Consensus Statement on Future Directions of Behavioral and Social Sciences in Oral Health”, published in the Journal of Dental Research (JDR), highlights the current state of knowledge in the behavioral and social sciences of oral health and identifies future directions for the field.

In 2020, the International & American Associations for Dental Research (IADR) Behavioral, Epidemiological and Health Services Research Scientific Group sponsored the Behavioral and Social Oral Health Sciences Summit, a three-day virtual meeting of more than 400 oral health actors, researchers and clinicians with expertise in behavioral and social sciences.

The first international meeting of its kind, the summit served as a starting point for the promotion of oral health globally by advancing the robust application of behavioral and social sciences, and established consensus among scientists of health and clinicians on essential axes and critical next steps.

Through an iterative process that included the incorporation of global feedback, the consensus statement identifies important areas of focus, including the establishment of behavioral and social theories and mechanisms related to oral health, the use multiple and new research methodologies, development and testing of new interventions using emerging tools. technologies and the application of dissemination and implementation science for oral and craniofacial health.

This consensus statement has been endorsed by IADR and AADOCR and over 40 other organizations and over 300 individuals internationally.

“Optimizing oral health and healthcare globally requires active engagement with behavioral and social sciences,” said Dr. Daniel W. McNeil, one of two co-organizers of the summit and co-first author of the consensus statement article.

“By working together across regional and national borders around the world, we can better realize the potential of behavioral and social sciences with respect to their essential role in oral health.

“Positioned to help advance racial, cultural and other equity in oral health, the behavioral and social sciences must be integrated into the education, training and mentorship of all clinicians and health researchers. oral.”

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