AAP wants oral health as part of routine care

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Dec. 22, 2008

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Pediatricians periodically should assess the oral health of all children, and all patients should have a dental home by their first birthdays, says an American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement in the December Pediatrics.

The paper, from the organization's Section on Pediatric Dentistry and Oral Health, also called for physicians to give dietary advice with a focus on oral fitness. This recommendation includes encouraging parents to clean a child's teeth and gums after nursing and before bedtime and not to allow a child to sleep with a bottle containing anything but water. In addition, physician application of fluoride varnish is appropriate for children at risk for caries who do not have a dental home.

The organization issued the statement because the presence of dental caries is the most common infectious disease in children and can have dire consequences, but few kids have access to specialized care for their mouth and teeth.

"It is critical that pediatricians be knowledgeable about dental caries, prevention of the disease, and interventions available to the pediatrician and the family," the authors wrote.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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