of the most important ways for health
professionals to ensure that infants
and young children enjoy optimal oral
health is by conducting risk assessments
to identify those at increased risk
for oral health problems, including
dental caries, malocclusion, and injury.
As part of routine health supervision
visits, health professionals can incorporate interview
questions, risk assessment, screening, and anticipatory
guidance. During each visit, health professionals
can ask parents key oral health questions about issues
to address during that visit.
By age 6 months, every infant should
begin to receive oral health risk assessments from
a health professional.
One of the most important ways for health professionals
to ensure that infants and young children enjoy optimal
oral health is by performing risk assessments to identify
those at risk for oral health problems, including
caries (the disease process leading to tooth decay),
periodontal disease, malocclusion
(improper alignment of the jaws and teeth), and injury.
Risk assessment of infants and young
children for oral health problems is based on the
premise that all infants and children are not equally
likely to develop such problems. Performing a risk
assessment for infants and young children can help
health professionals develop plans to meet each infant’s
or young child’s preventive and treatment needs.
Because non-oral health professionals are more likely
to encounter mothers (or other intimate caregivers)
before and during the colonization process (first
30 months of the child’s life) than are oral
health professionals, it is essential that they be
aware of the infectious pathophysiology and associated
risk factors of dental caries.
Dental caries, the most common chronic childhood
disease in the United States, begins early in an infant’s
or child’s life, and it is now recognized as
a bacterial infection that can be transmitted from
a parent or another intimate caregiver to an infant
or child. Since the most likely source of such infection
in infants is the mother or another intimate caregiver,
health professionals should identify women at high
risk for dental caries as early as possible (preferably
during pregnancy) to provide anticipatory guidance
(e.g., on oral hygiene and feeding practices) and
Read more about