The American Academy of Pediatrics published its first policy related to oral health in 2003. Since then, AAP oral health experts have published additional policies and participate in the review of the AAP many policies on children’s health.
Children with developmental disabilities often have unmet complex health care needs as well as significant physical and cognitive limitations. Children with more severe conditions and from low-income families are particularly at risk with high dental needs and poor access to care. In addition, children with developmental disabilities are living longer, requiring continued oral health care. This clinical report describes the effect that poor oral health has on children with developmental disabilities as well as the importance of partnerships between the pediatric medical and dental homes.
The oral health of Indigenous children of Canada (First Nations, Inuit,
and Métis) and the United States (American Indian, Alaska Native) is a
major child health issue. This statement includes recommendations for preventive oral health and clinical care for young infants and pregnant women by primary health care providers, community-based health-promotion initiatives, oral health workforce and access issues, and advocacy for community water fluoridation and fluoride-varnish program access.
Oral Health Risk Assessment Timing and Establishment of the Dental Home (2003, reaffirmed in 2009) (57 KB)
Pediatricians and pediatric health care professionals should develop the knowledge base to perform oral health risk assessments on all patients beginning at 6 months of age. Patients who have been determined to be at risk of development of dental caries or who fall into recognized risk groups should be directed to establish a dental home 6 months after the first tooth erupts or by 1 year of age (whichever comes first).
This policy is a compilation of current concepts and scientific evidence required to understand and implement practice-based preventive oral health programs. By implementing these programs, pediatricians can improve oral health outcomes for all children and especially children at significant risk of dental decay.
Guidelines for Monitoring and Management of Pediatric Patients During and After Sedation for Diagnostic and Therapeutic Procedures: An Update (2006) (156 KB)
The AAP and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry joint statement provides guidelines for all medical and dental practitioners regarding the monitoring and management of pediatric patients during and after sedation. The sedation of children is different from the sedation of adults. Children often require deeper levels of sedation to control their behavior for safe completion of a procedure, and they are particularly vulnerable to the physiological effects of sedating medications.
Physicians with experience or expertise in child abuse and neglect should make themselves available to dentists and to dental organizations as consultants and educators. Such efforts will strengthen our ability to prevent and detect child abuse and neglect and enhance our ability to care for and protect children.
Dental caries (cavities) is the most common chronic infectious disease of early childhood.