To help improve the oral health of young children, a $300,000 grant from the American Dental Association Foundation (ADAF) will help educate pediatricians on oral health assessment. The education effort will be a collaboration between the ADAF and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

The "Working Together for Oral Health" grant will arm pediatricians with the tools they need to assess the oral health of children, particularly up to the age of 3, who can develop dental problems before they see a dentist for the first time. The grant will provide up to $100,000 annually for 3 years (a total of up to $300,000).

The ADAF grant will fund annual "train-the-trainer" oral health summits during which pediatricians will learn to conduct oral health risk assessments (including oral screening exams), teach families about oral health and prevention, and refer children to a dental home. Over 3 years, all 66 AAP chapters will have the opportunity to send representatives, who will return home to lead training in their home states.

The grant will also fund an oral health preceptorship program, which provides pediatricians in underserved areas with the support to promote oral health. Ten awards will be given per year.

"We’re grateful to the ADAF for recognizing the importance of the role pediatricians can play in maintaining the oral health of young children," said Renee Jenkins, MD, FAAP, president of the AAP. "By arming pediatricians with the tools they need to assess oral health risk, we can begin to reduce the number of children who need but don’t receive dental care and build a solid foundation for their oral health."