Dental caries, commonly referred to as cavities, is the most common chronic disease in children and adolescents. Educating families about cavity prevention is essential to overall health. Unfortunately, in the United States, there is a severe shortage of pediatric dentists. This presents a huge health care issue in Pediatrics and significantly increases health care disparities.
To address this issue at NYC Health + Hospitals/South Brooklyn, we have a pediatric dental hygienist conducting dental screenings for children during their primary care visits to their pediatrician. When appropriate, fluoride varnish treatments are provided. This allows parents to make one visit for routine and comprehensive health care in the child’s medical home, thereby decreasing the need to miss school and work.
This is the 12th year that the Department of Pediatrics at South Brooklyn Health is celebrating National Children's Dental Health Month. During the month of February, every child receives a toothbrush, toothpaste and a coloring book designed to educate patients and their families about the importance of oral health.
We believe that discussing oral health routinely as part of well-child check anticipatory guidance and offering resources for patients regarding prevention and treatment of oral disease is a perfect way to improve the health of all of our Pediatric Primary Care patients.