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AAPD Announces Partnership With Head Start to Address Childhood Epidemic

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 remove barriers to obtaining dental services and healthy teeth."

One local Head Start Center director, Almeta Keys, reflected, "The new OHS/AAPD endeavor is indeed best for our children. The initiative's anticipated outcomes are of grave importance and closely align with our overall mission and goals-to provide high quality health and dental services to the children we serve".

Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children: The Foundation of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry will also support the initiative through a generous sponsorship from Johnson & Johnson Healthcare products , a long-standing supporter of Head Start, as a part of the company's ongoing commitment to providing oral care solutions for children.

"As a leader in the oral health industry, we are committed to programs that provide children access to the care and resources they need to build healthy oral care habits from the start," said Dr. Madeline Monaco, Senior Director, Global Professional Affairs, Oral Healthcare, Johnson & Johnson Consumer & Personal Products Worldwide, Division of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies Group, Inc.

AAPD President Keith R. Morley added, "Pediatric dentists and our professional colleagues are eager to offer their services, knowledge and commitment to help address the epidemic of childhood dental disease that continues to affect millions of American children."

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

Founded in 1947, the AAPD is a not-for-profit membership organization representing the specialty of pediatric dentistry. AAPD's 7,300 members are predominately pediatric dentists and primary care providers who deliver comprehensive specialty treatments for infants, children, adolescents and individuals with special health care needs. As advocates for children's oral health, the AAPD aims to promote the use of evidence-based policies and guidelines, foster research concerning pediatric oral health, and educate health care providers and the public to improve children's oral health. For further information, please visit the AAPD Web site at

The Office of Head Start The Office of Head Start provides comprehensive developmental services for low-income preschool children ages three to five and support services for their families. Head Start provides services consistent with goals for education, health, parent involvement and social services. OHS also delivers services for children of American Indian and migrant worker families, and includes Early Head Start programs, which expand the benefits of Head Start to pregnant women and children from birth to age three.

Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children: The Foundation of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children: The Foundation of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry was established in 1987 by the AAPD to support and promote service, education, research, and policy development that advance the oral health of infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health care needs. Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children assists postdoctoral students in pediatric dentistry, supports research and funds meaningful education programs that benefit both the profession and the public.

Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products Division of McNeil-PPC, Inc. Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products Division of McNeil-PPC, Inc. is a leader in the consumer oral health market with LISTERINE(R) Antiseptic Mouthwash, REACH(R) toothbrushes, REACH(R) floss, and REMBRANDT(R) tooth whitening products.

Contact: Marianthi Bumbaris

(312) 331-2169, ext. 27

SOURCE The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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