The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recognizes that education, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment are the components necessary to maintain optimal oral health for infants. The goals of infant oral care are to decrease the likelihood that the child will experience ECC, decrease the amount of caries causing bacteria or delay transmission, manage oral habits, and identify a dental home.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that caries is perhaps the most prevalent infectious disease in US children. By the time they reach kindergarten, more than 40% of children have caries.1 A dental home should be established within six months of eruption of the first tooth and no later than 12 months of age.2 This is to ensure that parents have the proper education on how to prevent Early Childhood Caries (ECC) and to obtain a baseline of the child’s oral health. This course will describe the importance of educating parents on when a dental home should be established for their children and describe how preventative measures and regular dental appointments starting in infancy can prevent early childhood caries.