Like General Health, Dental Health can be similarly defined as: A state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being with regard to the oral condition, rather than merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
The difficulty with defining "Dental" health is deciding where to draw the demarcation between dental and other systems. It is now generally accepted that it is well within the realm of dentistry to deal with all oral structures, including not only the teeth and gums, but also the jaw bones, muscles controlling jaw movements and the jaw joints (known as "Temporomandibular Joints" or "TMJs").
It is known, however, that materials used in the mouth for dental care may have an effect on the rest of the body, and that a dysfunction of the bite or of the TMJs can affect the muscles of the neck, putting a strain on the cervical spine which may compromise the entire spine. So the definition of "Dental Health" becomes much more complex, and therefore encompasses more than the immediate area of the mouth.
According to the Federation Dentaire Internationale (FDI): "Dentistry is concerned with the health and diseases of the teeth, gums, mouth and jaws and craniofacial anomalies as part of and related to the general health of patients. Dentists also have a wider responsibility to contribute to the general health of their patients." The FDI is the most respected of international dental organizations, and is the dental equivalent of the World Health Organization. This definition gives dentists a much greater responsibility than most people (including many dentists) realise.