- 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
- 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
- Children whose teeth have not erupted
within 6 months of the schedule should be referred
to a dentist for further assessment and possible
- 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.
- Children need a dental home. This
provides the opportunity to implement preventive
health practices and reduces the child's risk
of preventable oral disease.