Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Pediatrics. 2004 May;113(5):e487-92.

Educating pediatricians on children's oral health: past, present, and future.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Columbia University, New York, New York 10033, USA.



The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) policy Oral Health Risk Assessment Timing and Establishment of the Dental Home encourages pediatricians to play an important role in the oral health of children. The purpose of this study was to determine how well pediatricians are prepared to play the AAP suggested role in children's oral health by examining the oral health content of their educational process.


This article reviews current medical education guidelines, programs, surveys, and pediatrician experiences in oral health training at the undergraduate, graduate, and continuing medical education levels.


Although some medical schools, residency programs, and continuing medical education efforts do include oral health in their curricula, the practice is not widespread. Professional and oversight organizations such as the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics, Association of Pediatric Program Directors, AAP, and the pediatric Residency Review Committee do not include oral health in key guidelines and surveys of the medical education continuum. When surveyed, pediatricians state that the time spent on oral health education at each level of training is inadequate.


Overall, the level of oral health training for pediatricians at the undergraduate, graduate, and continuing medical education levels is inadequate to provide pediatricians with the competencies required for the provision of quality oral health care to children. Despite this inadequacy, educational efforts are under way and various tools and guidelines are available in a few locations. In addition, numerous opportunities exist for the organizations responsible for pediatrician education to ensure that curricula are designed and adopted to achieve these competencies, faculty are trained to teach these competencies, and program accreditation and certification are closely linked to acquisition of these competencies. Ensuring the success of such efforts will require cooperation between many organizations and disciplines and a genuine commitment to improve pediatric education and medical care for children.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk