Infant oral health is the foundation upon which education and motivation regarding dental hygiene and other preventive dental care must be built on, to augment the prospect of a lifetime free of preventable dental diseases. Infant oral health is an integral part of general well being of an infant, as he or she increases in age. It encompasses the care of the oral cavity and monitoring of the development of the teeth. Unfortunately, pregnant women, parents and caregivers of infants often do not receive timely and accurate education about preventive oral and dental health care
Prevention is the primary focus of infant oral health care and prevention of dental diseases should be initiated in infancy itself. For diseases that occur early in life such as early childhood caries (ECC) prevention of diseases and the promotion of healthy behavior among parents/caregivers must be given importance.
Poor oral hygiene and improper infant feeding practices create an environment that promotes the colonization of cariogenic bacteria such as Streptococcus mutans in the infant’s mouth. Thus, when a tooth erupts in an infant’s mouth, it is in an undesirable oral environment that promotes demineralization.
Risk factors such as improper feeding practices and poor oral hygiene that may lead to early childhood caries (ECC) may be identified at an early age and appropriate intervention may be planned.
Parents/caregivers may be educated regarding good oral health care practices to maintain the infant’s mouth in a state of good dental health.
Undesirable consequences of poor dental health such as ECC may be avoided and the infant may escape its complications such as dental pain and poor nutrition.
Psychologic health of the child can be maintained as unesthetic appearance of teeth negatively impacts the psychology of a child.