Dentists are unlikely hero’s when it comes to childhood obesity

When it comes to tackling the growing epidemic of childhood obesity, dentists are in a unique position to start a conversation with parents about effects and solutions.

They already talk about the dangers of sugar-sweetened beverages, the importance of not letting babies go to bed with bottles, so why not take it a step further and talk about obesit?

This was just one of the solutions proposed at Healthy Futures: Engaging the Oral Health Community in Childhood Obesity Prevention. The Nov. 3-4 conference brought together 125 dentists, hygienists, physicians, nurses, educators, researchers and dietitians to discuss ways the professions can work collaboratively on prevention.

“Dentists have a remarkable opportunity to bring the topic of sugar consumption into a team based conversation of disease prevention and overall health,” said Dr. Jane Grover, director, ADA Council on Advocacy for Access and Prevention. “This meeting brought together a diversity of health-related professionals who are all looking to the ADA for interprofessional leadership in this area.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. And because obese youth are more likely to be obese as adults, this can put them on a path to heart disease, type 2 diabetes and many other serious medical conditions as adults.

It’s a problem no one profession can solve singlehandedly, which is why words like interprofessional and collaboration were stressed repeatedly during the two-day event.


Do you need to have your teeth checked? Setting up an appointment is just a quick phone call away! Call Dr. Hadley’s office is open daily and we are willing and ready to help you with your dental needs.