Open Mouth, Open Mind: Expanding the Role of Primary Care Nurse Practitioners

Carol A. Clark, Kathleen A. Kent, Richard D. Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Oral health is essential to overall health at any age, although in children it is particularly important because poor oral health can have a deleterious effect on deciduous and permanent dentition. For decades, oral health providers have urged primary care providers to incorporate oral health assessment, risk factor identification, parent education, and preventive therapy into routine well-child visits. Despite recommendations from various professional associations and governmental organizations, the incidence of dental disease in young children remains relatively unchanged. Although the literature has clearly demonstrated that preventive care treatments, such as the application of fluoride varnish performed in the primary care setting, improve oral health in children, very few primary care providers include oral health services in their well-child visits. The purpose of this article is to reduce the barriers and knowledge gaps identified in recent pediatric oral health research and educate primary care nurse practitioners on the application of fluoride varnish to reduce the risk of the development of dental caries in young children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)480-488
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pediatric Health Care
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • early childhood caries
  • fluoride varnish
  • Pediatric oral health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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