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Maternal and Child Health Bureau logoA Health Professionals Guide to Pediatric Oral Health Management
HomeModuleModule 1: An Introduction to Infants' and Young Children's Oral HealthModule 2: Managing Infants' and Young Children's Oral HealthModule 3: Oral Conditions and AbnormalitiesModule 4: Prevention of Oral DiseaseModule 5: Non-Nutritive Sucking HabitsModule 6: Oral InjuryModule 7: Infants and Young Children with Special Health Care NeedsContentsGlossaryEvaluationHelp
Module 2: Managing Infants' and Young Children's Oral Health
Module Contents
Overview
2.1 Oral Development

Tooth Eruption and Loss
Teething
Malocclusion
2.2 Interview and Risk Assessment

During & After Pregnancy
During Infancy
During Early Childhood
2.3 Oral Screening
2.4 Behavior Management
2.5 Oral Examination
2.6 Anticipatory Guidance

For Pregnant Women,
New Mothers, or Other Intimate Caregivers
For Parents of Infants (current page)

For Parents of
Young Children

2.7 The Dental Home
Key Points
Post-Test
References
Additional Resources



2.6 Anticipatory Guidance, continued

Anticipatory Guidance to Share with Parents of Infants

  • Make an appointment for the infant's first dental visit within 6 months of the eruption of the first primary tooth, and no later than age 12 months.

  • After the initial dental visit, make the next appointment for the infant according to the schedule recommended by the dentist, based on the infant's individual needs or susceptibility to disease.

  • For infants with special health care needs, make appointments for more frequent dental visits as directed by the dentist based on the infant's needs or susceptibility to disease. Obtain special oral health equipment (e.g., a mouth prop) to brush the infant's teeth.

  • Clean the infant's gums with a clean damp cloth or toothbrush after each feeding. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants.

  • Brush the infant's teeth as soon as the first tooth erupts, usually around age 6-10 months, twice a day (after breakfast and before bed). Use a soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants. Dispense a smear of fluoridated toothpaste on the infant's toothbrush. Lift the lip to brush at the gum line and behind the teeth. Remember not to give the infant anything to eat or drink (except water) after brushing at night.

  • Become familiar with the normal appearance of the infant's gums and teeth so that problems can be identified if they occur. Check the infant's gums and teeth about once a month by lifting the infant's lip to look for decay on the outside and inside surfaces of the teeth.

  • Give the infant age 6 months or older fluoride supplements only as recommended by a dentist or physician based on the infant's risk for developing tooth decay and the known level of fluoride in the infant's drinking water.

  • If the infant has sore gums caused by tooth eruption, give the infant a clean teething ring, cool spoon, or cold wet washcloth. Other options include giving the infant a chilled teething ring or simply rubbing the infant's gums with a clean finger.

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logo: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau