Infant Oral Care
We are pleased to announce that the office will be offering an “Infant Oral Health Care Program” designed to prevent decay infections in young children. According to the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Early Childhood Caries (ECC) is one of the most common infectious diseases in young children. More than 40% of children have caries infections by the time they reach kindergarten. Caries infections in primary (baby) teeth can affect children’s growth, result in significant pain and potentially life-threatening infection, and diminish overall quality of life.
It is now known that “cavities”, or “tooth decay” is a bacterial infection caused by a particular type of acid producing bacteria which produce tooth damaging acids. Infants and young children are inoculated at an early age with these bacteria by close care givers, often their parents, through contact with the bacteria containing saliva. The goal of infant oral health care is to prevent or reduce the bacterial inoculation of the infant or young child, to assess the level of risk of infection, and to provide early treatment of tooth infections. By establishing a “dental home” at an early age “anticipatory guidance” can be provided which can customize preventive efforts for each child. The dental home concept is comparable to the familiar “well baby” medical visits.
Infant oral health care begins before the child is born by counseling of the expectant parents. Expectant parents (including siblings, grandparents, and others) should take measures to raise their level of their own oral health by having decay infected teeth treated so that the bacterial “load” the newborn is exposed to is reduced. Tooth development begins before birth (around five months in utero) so proper maternal nutrition is also a key factor in assuring a newborn with healthy developing teeth.
The child’s first dental visit should be within three months of the eruption of the first baby tooth, but no later than one year (1 yr.) of age. This is usually between age six months and ten months (6 mo. to 10 mo.). At this time the child will be examined by the dentist to determine if normal oral (both soft tissues and teeth) development is occurring. In addition, an assessment of the “risk” status of the child will be determined, and appropriate preventive measures will be suggested by the dentist and dental hygienist. You will be asked to fill out a history addressing factors which are directly related to your child s likelihood of having dental disease. The “well-baby” dental visit will take approximately fifteen (15) minutes, and you can expect your child to behave the same as he or she does during well-baby medical visits.
Our goal is to help your child enjoy excellent dental health, free of the many problems which have been so common in the past. At each stage of your child’s development there are predictable things which can cause problems. By anticipating these events, many of the diseases and accidents affecting the mouth and teeth can be prevented. Youngsters whose dental visits are preventive-oriented make excellent patients, and are glad to come to the dentist and hygienist.
Give us a call to schedule a visit or if you have any questions.