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NYC Health + Hospitals Adds Dental Hygiene Services to Pediatric Practices

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Children who begin seeing a dental provider at an early age are less likely to develop cavities, tooth decay and other conditions that may lead to more serious health issues later in life.

In April 2023, NYC Health + Hospitals announced it now offers preventive dental hygiene services at its pediatric practices within the 11 public hospitals in addition to Gotham Health Belvis and Morrisania neighborhood clinics. Dental hygienists will perform assessments, provide oral hygiene education and apply a fluoride varnish. Dental hygienists will also assist parents in obtaining a referral to a NYC Health + Hospitals pediatric dental practice so their children can get a comprehensive dental exam and treatment, if necessary.

The new program is part of a broader effort to educate families about the importance of oral health and hygiene. Children who begin seeing a dental provider at an early age are less likely to develop cavities, tooth decay and other conditions that may lead to more serious health issues later in life.

“Childhood caries, or cavities, are the most common chronic disease of early childhood, and this ‘silent epidemic’ is one that I see every day as a pediatrician while caring for my patients in clinic,” said Shivali Choxi, M.D., NYC Health + Hospitals Pediatrician and Director of Pediatric Primary Care Innovation. “Oral health care is integral to providing high-quality and comprehensive well-child care. Without the former, you cannot have the latter, and why it is so important to integrate dental care within pediatric primary care. Both pediatricians and embedded dental hygienists are uniquely positioned to provide the important counseling, care, and connection to the pediatric dentist, to promote the overall health and wellbeing of children and their families.”

“Establishing good habits with children at an early age, with primary teeth, sets the correct course for good oral health throughout life,” said Victor Badner, D.M.D., M.P.H., NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi Medical Center North Central Bronx Chair of Dentistry and Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery.

NYC Health + Hospitals is committed to bringing education and preventive dental hygiene services to the pediatric practices for the ease, convenience and benefit of its youngest patients and families. Children see their pediatrician for well-baby and well-child visits nine times in the first two years of life. The pediatric and dentistry teams at NYC Health + Hospitals see these regular check-ups as an opportunity to educate families about oral health and hygiene. Children should start seeing a pediatric dentist when their first tooth appears or no later than their first birthday, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

This program was the culmination of more than seven years of collaborative work between the Departments of Pediatric and Dentistry at Jacobi Medical Center. It started as a HRSA Title VII grant to enhance and expand the pediatric dental residency program and has culminated in collaboration opportunities with the Departments of Pediatrics.

About NYC Health + Hospitals

NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest municipal health care system in the nation serving more than a million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the city’s five boroughs. A robust network of outpatient, neighborhood-based primary and specialty care centers anchors care coordination with the system’s trauma centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, home care agency and MetroPlus health plan—all supported by 11 essential hospitals. Its diverse workforce of more than 43,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible. For more information, visit www.nychealthandhospitals.org and stay connected on FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn.

Courtesy of NYC Health + Hospitals

Published on May 10, 2023

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