Physician working with child to show her how to brush a stuffed animal's teeth, with mother watchingPrimary care medical providers are vital partners in promoting oral health

I see babies every day for well-child checks and talk with parents about ways to keep their babies healthy. Moms are sometimes surprised to hear me talk about the importance of preventing tooth decay at such an early age. Yet good oral health is critical for a child’s overall health.
Dr. Russell Maier, Yakima, WA

Primary care medical providers are important partners with dentists and parents in helping to ensure children’s oral health. They routinely see children early and often during well-child visits―opportune times to share oral health tips with families, screen for signs of tooth decay, apply fluoride varnishes, and identify and refer high-risk children to dentists.

The delivery of oral health services during a well-child check produce benefits for families and children that are vital and long-lasting, particularly when you consider that:

  •  Very young children will usually see a physician eight times before their first visit to a dentist;
  • Pediatric dental disease is the most common chronic disease of childhood. In fact, nearly 50 percent of low-income preschoolers have dental decay.
  • Left untreated, dental decay can lead to eating and sleeping problems, delayed speech and additional health problems.