Spring Cleaning: How Family Physicians Can Ease the Child Dental Crisis in Georgia

A family physician or pediatrician typically sees a child and their family about 13 times for routine checkups and vaccinations.  Each of these visits presents an opportunity for you and your clinical staff to review risk factors for oral disease.  In the U.S., tooth decay is the most prevalent chronic disease of childhood, five times more common than asthma.  Research has shown that from 1994-2004, 28 percent of 2-5-year-olds experience tooth decay.  Which is an increase of 15 percent from the prior decades.  We also know, that if parents have poor oral health status, so will their children.

What Can Family Physicians Do to Turn a Frown Upside Down for Our Children?

For all children and their families, it’s important to educate them and hit these main points:

  • Educate parents about good oral health habits for them and their children
  • Explain why primary teeth are important
  • Encourage that they brush teeth regularly with a smear of fluoridated toothpaste
  • Encourage regular dental visits
  • Outline proper dietary habits

Start providing fluoride varnish application in your practice!

Effective 2015, physicians can offer this service to Medicaid children with a new CPT code 99188.  Georgia’s Department of Public Health has a small staff dedicated to expanding fluoride varnish in primary care physicians’ offices around the state. Please see the contact below and consider adding this benefit to your practice.

Want to learn more? Register for the upcoming webinar, Wed, May 31, 2017 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1873115196169259267

If you cannot join us but would like a recording of the webinar email twallace@gafp.org to receive the live link.

For more information, please outreach to the following:

Carol C. Smith, RDH, MSHA, Director of Oral Health
Maternal and Child Health
Georgia Department of Public Health
2 Peachtree Street, 11-222
Atlanta, Georgia 30303-3142
Phone 404-657-3138
Fax: 404-657-7307