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Teeth: Small but Mighty and Mighty Important. A Comprehensive Review of Children’s Dental Health for Primary Care Clinicians


Charlotte W. Lewis*   Pages 1 - 17 ( 17 )


Healthy teeth allow us to eat and stay well-nourished. Although primary care clinicians receive limited training about teeth, given the common nature of dental problems, it is important that they understand and can recognize normal and abnormal dental conditions and can implement primary and secondary prevention of dental conditions in their practice. I used PubMed to search the scientific literature for evidence on the following topics: normal dental development, dental abnormalities, malocclusion, teething, dental caries and related epidemiology and prevention, fluoride, dental injury and its management and prevention; and identification, prevention and treatment of gingivitis and periodontal disease. I relied on randomized controlled trials, meta-analyses, systematic reviews, and Cochrane reviews when relevant and available. Other sources of evidence included cohort and case-control studies. I referred to consensus statements and expert opinion when there was a paucity of high-quality research studies. I synthesized the literature on these topics to make them relevant to pediatric primary care clinicians, and as available, I characterized the strength of evidence when making clinical recommendations.


dental development, occlusion, non-nutritive sucking, malocclusion, teething, dental caries, fluoride, traumatic dental injuries, gingivitis, periodontal disease


Division of General Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA Seattle Children’s Hospital, WA

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