FDI's definition of oral health

What does oral health mean to you?

A common understanding of oral health raises awareness in communities, guides oral health professionals, and encourages effective preventive care and treatment.

With a universally understood definition of oral health, patients, policymakers, oral health professionals and other stakeholders can approach this topic in a united way.

FDI's definition of oral health

Oral health is multi-faceted and includes the ability to speak, smile, smell, taste, touch, chew, swallow and convey a range of emotions through facial expressions with confidence and without pain, discomfort and disease of the craniofacial complex.

FDI's definition proposes a common understanding of oral health in order to:

  • clearly position oral health within general health;
  • demonstrate that oral health affects overall health and well-being;
  • raise awareness of the different dimensions of oral health and how they shift and change over time;
  • empower people by acknowledging how values, perceptions and expectations impact oral health outcomes.

FDI’s definition of oral health also paves the way for standardized oral health assessment and measurement tools. 

The definition and companion framework are available for download in multiple languages here.

> Download the Oral Health Definition Executive Summary.

> Read A new definition for oral health developed by the FDI World Dental Federation opens the door to a universal definition of oral health, 2016 International Dental Journal, 66: 322–324


In multiple languages as a PowerPoint presentation:


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