May 2019 Volume LIV Number 3


Physicians' Role in Oral Health Care

November 2013 Volume XLIX Number 6

 AAPD President Warren Brill, D.M.D., M.S. was recently quoted in a Medscape article regarding oral health promotion in primary care medicine. Brill discussed diet and behavior as it relates to oral health and how things may not always be apparent. Additionally, Dr. Brill mentions ways in which low-income patients may discover affordable dental programs. The story, A Gap in the Mouth by Laird Harrison, was published on July 26, 2013.


Having an ongoing relationship with a primary care physician has been associated with improved access to preventive dental care. 1 Although most Americans have a medical home, many do not have access to regular dental care. Family physicians and pediatricians are well positioned to reduce the impact of a wide variety of oral conditions. However, there has been less than wide spread change in physician practices to address oral health.


To identify what actually works, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) is conducting a research study with help from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP), a representative of nurse practitioners, and a representative of physician assistants. The study will examine the implementation of oral health promotion in primary care settings. With funding from DentaQuest Foundation and through the use of surveys, focus groups, and practice observations, the AAPD will collect information and insight from medical providers who have successfully integrated oral health promotion into their practices. Additionally, the AAPD will gather information on why and how pediatric dentists work collaboratively with their medical colleagues. Here the focus will be on topics regarding oral health education, oral health promotion, caries risk assessment, and referral patterns.


Douglass, J. M., Douglass, A. B., & Silk, H. J. (2004). A practical guide to infant oral health. American Family Physician, 70(11), 2113.