Oral infections had a significant impact on morbidity and mortality of medically compromised patients such as those with cancer or those undergoing chemotherapy. Elimination of oral infections before initiating radiation therapy, chemotherapy or various cardiac conditions today is the standard of care in most medical institutions. It is critical to understand the limitations of reports linking oral and systemic conditions and to look at them from the perspective of the role of oral health care providers in the overall health of our patients. We are entering an era of medical awareness and understanding in which all health care providers need to shoulder the responsibility for a patient's medical health. We have defined and redefined where the boundaries lie for oral health care providers in the field of medicine. It is clear that the mouth is an integral part of the body, that oral infections have systemic implications, that treatment of oral and systemic conditions has a reciprocal impact, that we have the potential to screen and monitor medical diseases and conditions, and that we provide care for patients who have chronic and sometimes complex illnesses.