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The role of doctors in the dental health of America's children has been brought into the spotlight by a recent policy statement in the journal Pediatrics.
As part of a published paper, the American Academy of Pediatrics calls for physicians to help influence kids' dental care by giving families advice on diet and proper feeding routines for infants.
Some of these recommendations will help prevent dental care problems, the AAP says, such as those urging parents to clean their babies' teeth and/or gums after nursing and before going to bed.
Doctors can also help prevent baby bottle tooth decay by instructing moms and dads to avoid putting their kids to bed with a bottle - unless it contains only water, according to the group.
The article draws attention to the fact that due to factors such as dental insurance problems or difficulties paying for dental care, kids may be more likely to visit a pediatrician regularly than a dentist.
"It is critical that pediatricians be knowledgeable about dental caries, prevention of the disease, and interventions available to the pediatrician and the family," the authors state.
Tooth decay is currently on the rise in the U.S., according to recent studies.
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