ResumenField research in oral health has traditionally been guided by the biomedical perspective, with great emphasis on biological aspects and little progress in addressing the social determinants of the process of oral health illness. This shows that, since the beginning of the modern project, with its positioning of a hegemonic model to carry out scientific work, characterized by the privilege of research that points to biotechnological advances, due to the acceptance of a single epistemology and restricted approaches to a methodological focus, such research has not significantly contributed to overcoming oral health problems. That is evident, among other reasons, given the high prevalence of preventable oral diseases, such as dental caries and periodontal disease. We thus take part in great progress in restoration materials, sophisticated technologies for oral rehabilitation processes and innovative surgical procedures, while continuing limitations on access to these benefits for a large part of the population remains a concern. Thus the importance of seeking alternatives to enable the creation of a real connection between research and achieving better living and health conditions for the country’s diverse human groups, which implies working on a number of fronts. One has to do with academia’s contribution to widening the research horizon in the field of oral health, to make room for less fragmentary and reductionist conceptions of health and illness, to value other research approaches and to consider carrying out studies to address topics that explore the relation between oral health and social, economic and cultural aspects. The aim is to facilitate movement towards carrying out actions aimed at individual and collective well-being, and which are not limited to producing knowledge divorced from transformation of the health realities in our communities. Another academic contribution to performing relevant research that is less focused on illness has to do with guidance of the formative process of oral health professionals. The objective must be to generate greater commitment with understanding of current society and an approach to other perspectives for producing knowledge about health.
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