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AAPD Announces Partnership With Head Start to Address Childhood Epidemic
Date:2/28/2008

Partnership will work to provide oral care for one million children

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), the recognized leader in children's oral health, today announced a partnership with the Office of Head Start (OHS) to help combat children's tooth decay, the most common chronic childhood disease.

The OHS has awarded a five-year, $10 million dollar contract to the AAPD to establish dental homes for one million children enrolled annually in OHS programs. A dental home signifies that children's oral health care is delivered by dentists to children through an ongoing relationship that is comprehensive, continuously accessible, coordinated and family-centered.

Statistics show that 30-40 percent of three-year-olds and 50-60 percent of four-year-olds in a number of Head Start programs suffer from tooth decay, which is higher than the national average among all children. Although the initiative will not directly fund any dental services, the AAPD is developing a national network of pediatric dentists and general dentists to partner with local Head Start programs. Teams of dentists and Head Start personnel will be trained in optimal oral health care practices and ways to develop partnerships within their community. AAPD will provide education and training to dentists and their staffs to help overcome challenges that many Head Start families face in trying to get dental care for their children.

"This is a huge step towards overcoming a problem that affects millions of children across the country," said AAPD Head Start Project Director James J. Crall.

As one Head Start parent, Keisha Wright, shared, "Without these types of resources provided by Head Start, Medicaid and other payment sources, it would be extremely difficult to find and afford the support needed to meet my children's health and dental needs. I view this new children's oral health initiative as another means to help r
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SOURCE The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
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