Pediatric Oral Health: What Every HCH Provider Should Know
Although the oral health of most Americans has improved since the1970s, people living in poverty remain at especially high risk for chronic dental disease, and the prevalence of dental caries among children aged 2–5 years has increased during the last decade. Financial barriers to dental care, poor nutrition, lack of awareness of serious health risks associated with untreated tooth decay, and ignorance of the mechanisms by which infectious pathogens responsible for dental caries are transmitted from adults to young children partially explain this increase. New models of care focus on earlier screening for dental caries during pregnancy, infancy, and childhood; anticipatory guidance to primary care clinicians and adults responsible for infant and child care; and increased access to preventive dental care for people of all ages. The articles in this issue explain the reasons for higher dental morbidity in children and what clinicians working with homeless families can do to address this critical health disparity.
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