Maintenance of oral care starts perinatally. The mother needs to keep her oral hygiene healthy, to establish good oral habits, and to prevent the transfer of cavity-causing bacteria to her child.
Oral Health Care for Pregnant and Lactating Women:
The perinatal period is an optimum time to educate expecting mothers about dental treatment. During the visits for pregnancy care, dentists should educate women about the following.
- Diet including adequate quality of nutrients for the expectant mother and the unborn child. The education protocol should include information regarding the caries process and food cravings, that may increase the mother’s risk for caries.
- Comprehensive oral examination, dental prophylaxis, and treatment during pregnancy. Dental treatment during pregnancy, including dental radiographs with proper shielding (lead apron) and local anesthetic, is safe in all trimesters and optimal in the second trimester.
- Good oral hygiene, using a fluoridated toothpaste, chewing sugar-free gum, and eating small amounts of nutritious food throughout the day to help minimize their caries risk.
- Continue breastfeeding along with complementary foods for one year or longer. The transfer of drugs and therapeutics into the breastmilk should be considered, especially in infants younger than six months of age.
Oral Health Care for the Infant:
Parents should be encouraged to establish a dental routine for children by 12 months of age. It should include the following.
- An initial visit with thorough medical and dental histories, a thorough oral examination, age-appropriate tooth and gum cleaning demonstration, and fluoride varnish treatment if required.
- Assessing the infant’s risk of developing caries, and make prevention plan depending on the situation. Anticipatory guidance regarding the effects of diet on the dentition, use of fluoride, and interval for periodic reevaluation.
- Caries management of infants and toddlers with known risk factors for early childhood caries (nursing bottle caries).
- Injury prevention counseling to prevent orofacial trauma. Discussions should include play objects, pacifiers, car seats, and electric cords.
- Counseling regarding teething. While many children have no apparent difficulties, teething can lead to intermittent localized areas of discomfort, irritability, and excessive salivation. Treatment includes oral analgesics and chilled teething rings for the child. Use of topical anesthetics, including over-the-counter teething gels, to relieve discomfort.
- Counseling regarding non-nutritive oral habits, for example, digit or pacifier sucking, bruxism, abnormal tongue thrust, which may apply forces to teeth and dentoalveolar structures. It is important to intervene early before any malocclusion, or skeletal dysplasia occurs.
- The desired goal of oral health counseling is to improve oral health behaviors. Motivational interviewing techniques (MI) have been successful in promoting change in health behaviors.
Maintenance and awareness are crucial to prevent a dental problem in infants.
For more information consult a pediatric dental specialist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/pedodontist/pediatric-dental