May 2019 Volume LIV Number 3


Pediatric Oral Health Research and Policy Center Updates

March 2017 Volume LII Number 2

Pediatric Oral Health Research and Policy Center

AAPD Members Report Positive Actions in Preventing Childhood Obesity

Nearly 25 percent of AAPD members shared their perspectives on talking to parents of young patients about nutrition and obesity in a national survey conducted by the Pediatric Oral Health Research and Policy Center (POHRPC) and funded through a grant from the Robert Wood John- son Foundation. Substantive points from the responses included:

• About 17 percent of pediatric dentists surveyed stated they currently offer childhood obesity information or other healthy weight interventions in their practices.
• Nearly 94 percent of pediatric dentists said they currently offer information or other interven- tions on the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs).
• Only 14 percent of pediatric dentist respondents agreed that parents are receptive to obesity counseling in the dental office, while 81 percent thought parents are receptive to advice about consumption of SSBs.
• Concerns about parent reactions to weight management interventions were the chief barri- ers to offering obesity-related counseling, including a fear of offending the parent, appearing judgmental and creating parent dissatisfaction.
• Other than expected parent reactions, the most significant barriers to obesity counseling were ambiguous dietary recommendations about obesity, a lack of time in the daily clinical sched- ule, a lack of personal knowledge or trained personnel, and a lack of communication training or knowledge about how to start the conversation.
• Nearly 88 percent of pediatric dentists agreed they would be more interested in advising par- ents about weight management if there were a clearer clinical link between obesity and dental disease.

The results suggest a child’s weight is seen as a medical rather than a dental issue, while prudent consumption of SSBs is perceived as integral to the care of children and the practice of pediatric den- tistry. The responses also convey that patient interventions are propelled by market forces, particu- larly parent preferences and expectations.

Nearly 32 percent of children ages 2–18 are either overweight or obese, and eight percent of infants and toddlers have high weight for recumbent length.1 Sugared drinks are the single largest category of caloric intake in children.2 During patient visits, you and your team have an excellent opportunity to address such dietary habits as sugared drink consumption and thus intervene for early obesity prevention and promote healthy weight in children.

Identifying Common Risk Factors for a More Effective Primary Care Caries Risk Assessment Screening Tool

The AAPD Policy Center continues its third year of research ex- ploring oral health promotion in primary care, "Interprofessional Study of Oral Health in Primary Care: Common Risk Factor Study II."

To further validate the significant variables identified in Year 2, we are taking a second look at retrospective data on the 1,700 Nationwide Children’s Hospital (NCH) patients previously analyzed. Using new technology not available during Year 2 (Natural Language Processing), we are exploring additional variables that were previ- ously non-extractable. A new patient query is also being performed to include patients that meet study criteria for the time period since June 2015 (when the last run for Year 2 analysis was completed).

Additionally, a prediction model for dental caries is being devel- oped. Taking an innovative predictive modeling approach, we will analyze data from all patients seen at the NCH’s baby dental clinic since October 2011, when dental electronic records were integrated with electronic medical records. The resulting predictive model will incorporate data mining, statistical techniques, and/or machine learning to forecast the probability of a caries-related outcome based on the available influential variables.

Visit the POHRPC webpage at to view the full Year 2 Report. (

1. Ogden CL, (US) NC for HS. Consumption of Sugar Drinks in the United States, 2005-2008. US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics Hyattsville, MD, USA; 2011.
2. Reedy J, Krebs-Smith SM. Dietary sources of energy, solid fats, and added sugars among children and adolescents in the United States. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2010;110(10):1477-1484.

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