Dentists are an important ally against child abuse

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and Delta Dental member companies are supporting their local Prevent Abuse and Neglect through Dental Awareness (P.A.N.D.A.) programs.

The focus of the program is to train dentists to recognize and report suspected cases of abuse or neglect in their young patients. Delta Dental of Missouri partnered with the Missouri Bureau of Dental Health to found the first P.A.N.D.A coalition, and the program has since grown to include 46 states and seven countries.

"When properly trained to spot signs of child abuse, dentists can be an important ally in identifying potential neglect and preventing further abuse," said Bill Kohn, DDS, Delta Dental Plans Association's vice president of dental science and policy.

More than 124,000 children were reported as being physically abused in 2012 and studies have indicated that dentists are five times as likely to report suspected abuse if they receive proper training in this area. Injuries to the head, face, and neck account for an estimated 65% of injuries in physically abused children so a checkup gives dentists a unique opportunity to uncover potential signs of abuse.

Dental professionals who would like more information about the program can visit the Delta Dental website.

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