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Learn ways to reduce early childhood caries in underserved populations

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Editor's note:  For more coverage of the 2022 AAP National Conference & Exhibition, visit

Interprofessional communication between pediatrics and dentistry is critical to decrease disparities in the oral health of children, especially among those in medically underserved populations, said Francisco J. Ramos-Gomez, D.D.S., M.S., M.P.H.

“Oral and primary health care providers can work together to teach families the importance of using fluoride toothpaste, brushing upon the eruption of the first tooth and following a healthy diet at home by reducing sugary foods and drinks to lower the risk of oral health disease in childhood and throughout the life course,” said Dr. Ramos-Gomez, professor and chair in the Division of Preventive and Restorative Oral Health Sciences at University of California, Los Angeles School of Dentistry.

Pediatricians looking to expand their knowledge of oral health care should plan to attend “Preventing and Arresting Cavities in Medically Underserved Children” (I4641) presented by Dr. Ramos-Gomez and Susan A. Fisher-Owens, M.D., M.P.H, FAAP, clinical professor of pediatrics and of preventive and restorative dental sciences at University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine and School of Dentistry. The interactive workshop will be held from 4-5:30 p.m. PDT Monday, Oct. 10 in room 206 of the convention center.

Drs. Ramos-Gomez and Fisher-Owens will present cases of oral trauma, fluorosis and betel nut exposure in new Americans, those living in poverty and families experiencing domestic abuse.

Dr. Ramos-Gomez said he hopes the session helps general pediatricians “to feel empowered and educated to promote and advocate for mandatory age 1 oral health visits for their young patients.”

Access to oral health care is a basic human right, he said, and a matter of equity for all children regardless of social economic status, language, ethnicity or background. The session will include discussion of social determinants of oral health, especially those impacting vulnerable Latino families, such as housing and food insecurities, immigration status, transportation and language barriers.

Drs. Ramos-Gomez and Fisher-Owens, who are members of the AAP Section on Oral Health, also will suggest how pediatricians can advocate for improved access to oral health care.

“Throughout my career working with vulnerable and underserved populations, it has become increasingly clear to me that we must position children’s oral health as an issue of social justice, health equity and children’s human rights,” Dr. Ramos-Gomez said.

For more information on the National Conference, visit View the conference schedule at   

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