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Pediatricians Play a Role in Children's Oral Health

In a revised policy statement, “Maintaining and Improving the Oral Health of Young Children,” appearing in the December 2014 issue of Pediatrics (published online Nov. 24) the American Academy of Pediatrics notes that pediatricians play an important role in improving oral health for young children. Over the years, oral health status for older children has improved or stayed the same. However, in children 2 to 4 years of age, the number of dental caries has increased significantly from 19 percent to 24 percent, especially in children from poor families. Young children often see a pediatrician more frequently in the first years of life than they would a dentist, putting pediatricians in a unique position to provide oral health counseling. Pediatricians should instruct parents on proper brushing technique, discuss the role sugary food and drinks play in the development of dental caries, and review recommendations for fluoride administration and supplementation. It is also important that pediatricians encourage parents to ensure their children have a dental home by the time they reach 1 year of age.


The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 62,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit

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