Saving One Smile at a Time: Oral Health Promotion in Pediatric Primary Care Practice


Oral health continues to be a major issue affecting children these days. Early childhood caries are considered to be the most common chronic childhood disease in the United States. Despite the availability of Medicaid, millions of children can still not access a dental provider to receive proper care. Getting children in for dental care early in their lives saves money. Children that do not receive proper oral health care during their childhood are at higher risk for more complex and restorative care as they age. Plans to reduce childhood caries include more creative interventions such as oral assessment, education and fluoride varnish application in primary care practices. Pediatric primary care providers are trusted by parents to care for their children and have an ideal opportunity to make a lasting impression and create behavioral changes in oral health during their frequent contacts with children and families. Integrating oral health promotion is a simple task with numerous benefits for children and families, as well as primary care doctors’ offices. With proper professional and governmental support oral health promotion programs in primary care practice can further increase in number which can ultimately improve oral health outcomes, save time and prevent costly dental repairs, as well as benefit the practice through proper reimbursement.

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Mattheus, D. and Mattheus, C. (2014) Saving One Smile at a Time: Oral Health Promotion in Pediatric Primary Care Practice. Open Journal of Nursing, 4, 402-408. doi: 10.4236/ojn.2014.46046.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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