Enlisting Pediatricians in the Fight Against Tooth Decay

Published Online: Tuesday, July 1, 2003

In order to help stem the rising incidence of children?s tooth decay, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued new guidelines. Because pediatricians spend more time with infants and children than dentists do, the academy recommends that pediatric health care providers begin oral health risk assessments when a child reaches 6 months old.The policy also identifies groups at high risk of developing dental decay and suggests that children in these groups see a dentist by the time they are 1 year old. High-risk groups for tooth decay include the following:

? Children who sleep with a bottle
? Children already showing signs of cavities or plaque buildup
? Children with special health care needs
? Children of mothers with a lot of cavities or gum disease

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