Pediatric Oral Health Research and Policy Center

Mission Statement

To inform and advance research and policy development that will promote optimal children's oral health and care.


Activities of the Pediatric Oral Health Research and Policy Center

  • Conduct oral health policy research that advances children’s oral health issues and supports AAPD public policy and public relations initiatives at the national, state, local, and international levels with legislatures, government agencies, professional associations, and other non-governmental organizations.
  • Monitor and reports on state, national, and international data concerning the oral health status and overall health status of children
  • Develop and implement special project activities that advance children’s oral health issues and public understanding of such, in accordance with AAPD policies and guidelines
  • To produce timely and high quality policy analysis on critical issues impacting children’s oral health.
  • To produce useful studies and analysis to further the understanding of practices which will contribute to the oral health of all children

Latest News in Research and Policy (Click to Expand)

New Publication: Advocacy Training for Pediatric Dental Residency Programs Arrow_2_black

Published in August, 2016, "Advocacy Training for Pediatric Dental Residency Programs" provides residents with the knowledge and skills necessary to incorporate the service of advocacy as an integral aspect of pediatric dental care, and thus enhance the oral health of all children, including those with special health care needs. The curriculum guide will assist dental educators in developing and promoting oral health advocacy programs in pediatric dentistry advanced education to address the Commission on Dental Accreditation’s Standards 4.26 and 4.27.

Click here for the full publication.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant Proposal Accepted Arrow_2_black

The Policy Center received its first grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in partnership with the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center, American Dental Association and other dental organizations. Running from November 2015 to October 2016, the grant will fund Policy Center activities in developing and conducting surveys of pediatric dentists and general dentists about their knowledge, skills and strategies related to reducing the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and preventing childhood obesity.

Click here to read the abstract.

The results will be presented at a national meeting titled "Healthy Futures: Engaging the Oral Health Community in Childhood Obesity Prevention" on November 3-4 in Washington, D.C. This invitational conference is an important event that will engage the oral health community in contributing to the prevention of childhood obesity. For more information, click here.

Year 2 DentaQuest Final Report Available: How Primary Care Providers can identify Children with High Caries Risk Arrow_2_black

The second phase of the Interprofessional Study of Oral Health in Primary Care: Common Risk Factor Study is complete, and the preliminary results are thought-provoking for both pediatric dentists and pediatric medical professionals. Thanks to Nationwide Children's hospital in Ohio, several non-dental variables commonly included in pediatric medical records that seem to predict caries experience were identified.  These include: 

  • Referral to MD specialist at 12 months

  • Immunizations not up to date at 15 months

  • Breast milk at 15 months

  • History of broken appointments

  • Ethnicity

With an aim of creating a history-based caries-risk screening tool that more easily assimilates into the work flow of a well-child visit, we sought to identify health screening measures already intrinsic to the well-child encounter that might also be associated with caries risk.  

The next steps are to incorporate these variables into a new medically specific caries risk assessment tool that can automatically be calculated by one’s electronic health record system to improve provider adherence to oral health screening at the well-child visit. Earlier oral health screenings, prompting more referrals of young children to a dental home, will help provide access to preventive dental services to those children most at risk for dental problems.

Click here to read the report.

New Technical Brief Competition or Collaboration: Exploring the Relationship Between Corporate Dentistry and Dental Training Programs Arrow_2_black



The May 2016 Technical Brief provides an examination of the changes and decline in population pools for dental school programs, the challenges of securing adequate patient populations, and current approaches to solving patient shortages.

Download Brief

Pediatric Dental Research on the Effects of the ACA Arrow_2_black



 The Harris Fellow research project by Dr. Scott Schwartz evaluated the effect of the Affordable Care Act on practicing pediatric dentists by examining their attitudes toward, perceptions of, and experience with the legislation. According to the results of this national survey of AAPD members, insurance plans should be simplified and legal details must be clarified for the Essential Health Benefit legislation of the ACA to provide real value to both patients and practitioners.

Click here to read the abstract

Research-Based Action Plan for Public Policy Advocates Arrow_2_black

According to the December 2014 Technical Brief, AAPD Public Policy Advocates are in an ideal position in their own states to prepare members to comply with Medicaid rules. The Brief discusses how Advocates can establish state-level relationships with public and private entities that share the goal of improved oral health for children; promote fair and consistent auditing practices; and educate members about relevant regulations, documentation standards and appropriate billing practices. In addition, the Brief offers practical tips for surviving an audit as a pediatric dental provider.

Click here to download the technical brief.

Director's Commentary 

The Director’s Commentary by Dr. Paul S. Casamassimo offers a concise and insightful perspective on current research and policy issues impacting children’s oral health. They are disseminated not only to AAPD members but to other dental organizations and key policymakers.

The most recent Commentary, Is Government Intervention a Negative or Positive Social Determinant of Oral Health, December 2016, discusses tough but crucial issues about the effects of government programs on the oral health and overall well-being of our most financially disadvantaged citizens.

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