Guideline on infant oral health care.All primary health care professionals who serve mothers and infants provide parent/caregiver education on the etiology and prevention of early childhood caries (ECC). Oral health counseling and referral for a comprehensive oral examination and treatment during pregnancy is especially important for the mother.
The infectious and transmissible nature of bacteria that cause ECC and methods of oral health risk assessment, anticipatory guidance, and early intervention be included in the curriculum of all medical, nursing, and allied health professional programs.
Every infant receive an oral health risk assessment from his/her primary health care provider or qualified health care professional by 6 months of age. This initial visit should consist of the following:
Assessing the patient's risk of developing oral disease using a caries risk assessment
Providing education on infant oral health
Evaluating and optimizing fluoride exposure
Parents or caregivers establish a dental home for infants by 12 months of age. The following should be accomplished at that visit:
Recording thorough medical (infant) and dental (mother or primary caregiver and infant) histories
Completing a thorough oral examination
Assessing the infant's risk of developing caries and determining an appropriate prevention plan and interval for periodic reevaluation based upon that assessment
Providing anticipatory guidance regarding dental and oral development, fluoride status, non-nutritive sucking habits, teething, injury prevention, oral hygiene instruction, and the effects of diet on the dentition
Planning for comprehensive care in accordance with accepted guidelines and periodicity schedules for pediatric oral health
Referring patients to the appropriate health professional if intervention is necessary