Saturday, August 29, 2015

AAPD encourages you to join the Monster-Free Mouths Movement!

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recently launched the Monster-Free Mouths Movement to underscore the vital importance of early oral care. Learn more here.

AAPD encourages you to join the Monster-Free Mouths Movement!

Image courtesy of AAPD

Today's guest blogger is Warren Brill, D.M.D., M.S., a pediatric dentist in Baltimore, Maryland. He is the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry president and a national spokesperson of the AAPD, as well as an advocate for the dental health and overall well-being of children.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recently launched the Monster-Free Mouths Movement to underscore the vital importance of early oral care, and given February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, it’s a great time to join the Movement!

AAPD’s Monster-Free Mouths Movement aims to arm parents and caregivers with important tools and information to help fight the Mouth Monsters (tooth decay). And there is no doubt that help is needed: by age 5 nearly 60 percent of kids have had tooth decay. The rate of tooth decay in tots is alarming not only because it is on the rise, but it becomes harder to treat once it sets in, especially if at an early age. The good news is that this top chronic infectious disease among our nation’s children is nearly completely preventable. While most parents and caregivers are aware of the importance of brushing and flossing, it’s only part of the puzzle in preventing tooth decay.


Ensuring healthy little teeth starts with setting up regular visits to the pediatric dentist to establish a “Dental Home.” The “Dental Home” enhances the dental professional’s ability to provide optimal oral health care for successful preventive care and treatment as part of an overall oral health care foundation for life. The AAPD recommends the first dental visit by age 1, but it’s never too late! Parents and caregivers are very busy and it can be hard to keep up with all of the “must dos,” but just as children have well visits with a pediatrician, regular pediatric dental visits are important for a child’s overall health and well-being.

Parents and caregivers may wonder why it’s important to select a pediatric dentist. In fact, they are not alone: according to a recent AAPD survey more than half of parents and caregivers surveyed thought that pediatric dentists receive the same or less training than a general dentist. However, pediatric dentists actually receive an additional two to three years of specialized study beyond dental school.

This extra study places an emphasis on child psychology, growth and development, and special health care needs – all areas that give pediatric dentists the unique expertise to cater to the specific needs of kids. Not surprisingly, when parents and caregivers learned about this additional training, they were nearly unanimous in stating they would likely seek out a pediatric dentist for their child.

The AAPD created the Mouth Monster Defense Kit, available on, with fun tools to help talk to kids about good habits to keep healthy teeth, a tip sheet for parents and caregivers in addition to a pediatric dentist finder. Join the Monster-Free Mouths Movement today to protect children’s teeth, banish the Mouth Monsters and build the foundation for a lifetime of healthy teeth!

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The Healthy Kids blog is your window into the latest news, research and advice around children's health. Learn more about our growing list of contributors here.

If you have questions about your child's health, ask them here.

Anna Nguyen Healthy Kids blog Editor
Sarah Levin Allen, Ph.D., CBIS Assistant Professor of Psychology at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Stephen Aronoff, M.D., M.B.A. Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Temple University Hospital
Peter Bidey, D.O. Medical Director of Family Medicine at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Christopher C. Chang, MD, PhD, MBA, FAAAAI, FACAAI Associate Professor of Medicine in division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Clinical Immunology at UC Davis
Katherine K. Dahlsgaard, Ph.D. Lead Psychologist of The Anxiety Behaviors Clinic at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Gary A. Emmett, M.D., F.A.A.P Director of Hospital Pediatrics at TJU Hospital & Pediatrics Professor at Thomas Jefferson Univ.
Magee DeFelice, M.D. Division Chief of Allergy and Immunology at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children
Hazel Guinto-Ocampo, M.D. Chief of Pediatric Emergency Services at Nemours duPont Pediatrics/Bryn Mawr Hospital
Rima Himelstein, M.D. Adolescent Medicine Specialist at Crozer-Keystone Health System
Jessica Kendorski, PhD, NCSP, BCBA-D Associate Professor in School Psychology/Applied Behavior Analysis at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Anita Kulick President & CEO, Educating Communities for Parenting
Janet Rosenzweig, MS, PhD, MPA VP for Programs & Research for Prevent Child Abuse America
Beth Wallace Smith, R.D. Registered Dietitian at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Emiliano Tatar, M.D. Pediatrician at Einstein Healthcare Network Roxborough Plaza
Jeanette Trella, Pharm.D Managing Director at The Poison Control Center at CHOP
W. Douglas Tynan, Ph.D., ABPP Director of Integrated Health Care for American Psychological Association
Flaura Koplin Winston, M.D., Ph.D. Scientific Director of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Injury Research and Prevention
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