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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
2.1 Oral Development

Tooth Eruption and Loss
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

For Parents of
Young Children

2.7 The Dental Home
Key Points (current page)
Additional Resources

Key Points
  • 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 increased risk for oral health problems, including dental caries, malocclusions, and injury.

  • Health professionals can perform an oral screening for infants and young children. Screening is important for demonstrating to parents the growth and development of the infant's or child's mouth and for determining whether any signs of oral disease are present.

  • As part of health supervision, health professionals can provide parents with anticipatory guidance. For parents of infant and children, as well as for pregnant women, new mothers and other intimate caregivers, topics include oral development, gum/tooth cleaning, fluoride, caries transmission, bottle use, eating habits, non-nutritive sucking habits, and injury prevention.

  • Children whose teeth have not erupted within 6 months of the schedule should be referred to a dentist for further assessment and possible intervention.

  • The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that infants visit a dentist for the first time within 6 months of the eruption of the first tooth, and no later than age 12 months.[6]

  • Children need a dental home. This provides the opportunity to implement preventive health practices and reduces the child's risk of preventable oral disease.
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