UMMS Affiliation

Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

Publication Date


Document Type



Dental Hygiene | Family Medicine | Medical Education


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: National initiatives have encouraged oral health training for family physicians and other nondental providers for almost 2 decades. Our national survey assesses progress of family medicine residency programs on this important health topic since our last survey in 2011.

METHODS: Family medicine residency program directors (PDs) completed an online survey covering various themes including number of hours of oral health (OH) teaching, topics covered, barriers, evaluation, positive influences, and program demographics.

RESULTS: Compared to 2011, more PDs feel OH should be addressed by physicians (86% in 2017 vs 79% in 2011), yet fewer programs are teaching OH (81% vs 96%) with fewer hours overall (31% vs 45% with 4 or more hours). Satisfaction with the competence of graduating residents in OH significantly decreased (17% in 2017 vs 32% in 2011). Program directors who report graduates being well prepared to answer board questions on oral health topics are more likely to have an oral health champion (P < 0.001) and report satisfaction with the graduates' level of oral health competency (Pandlt;0.001). Programs with an oral health champion, or having a relationship with a state or national oral health coalition, or having routine teaching from a dental professional are significantly more likely to have more hours of oral health curriculum (P < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Family medicine PDs are more aware of the importance of oral health, yet less oral health is being taught in residency programs. Developing more faculty oral health champions and connecting programs to dental faculty and coalitions may help reduce this educational void.


oral health, training, medical education, residency programs, family medicine, program directors

DOI of Published Version



Fam Med. 2018 Jun;50(6):437-443. doi: 10.22454/FamMed.2018.372427. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Family medicine

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID