The School of Dentistry at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio recently launched the Center for Global and Community Oral Health.

The background

According to a Nov. 9 news release, the Center for Global and Community Oral Health is designed to combine various existing outreach and research programs under one umbrella to study and develop solutions to dental challenges facing different populations worldwide.

Brij Singh, associate dean of research for the dental school, said the objective is to comprehensively address and improve global oral health through education, research and innovation.

To do this, Singh said the new center will seek to expand access to oral health care to eliminate health disparities, integrate oral health care into medical care to prevent disease, and distribute oral health information to increase health literacy.

The release stated the center’s outreach programs partner with 76 affiliated training sites in San Antonio and South Texas where primary dental care and preventive services are provided. In fiscal year 2022-23, nearly 18,000 patients received low-cost dental care valued at more than $7.4 million.

The center is also providing dental screenings and oral health instruction to a Kenyan all-girls boarding school, whose students are then sent out to teach their families and peers at neighboring schools the same information, the release stated.

What they’re saying

Singh said good oral health is key to having a positive quality of life, especially for citizens in impoverished communities and in developing countries.

“The number of people with untreated oral conditions worldwide has reached 3.5 billion. Oral diseases are the fourth-highest cause of financial burden in the most industrial countries. If we really want to make lives better, we need to focus on oral health,” Singh said in a statement.