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Preventive Approach to Oral Health Care for Infants

oral care infants
Dr.Nisha George
Dr.Nisha George
August26/ 2015

Oral health care has developed a lot from the past decade. It has become one of the fast growing entity of the medicine. People have become more enthusiastic to clean their teeth and visiting the dentist very often. Mouth (oral cavity) is the hub for millions of bacteria (germs).You will be amazed to see tons of bacteria grow on a plate from your mouth sample.

What do the bacteria do to your teeth and how can we prevent it????

Dental plaque (oral biofilm) is a community of complex microorganisms attached on to the teeth surfaces. If left undisturbed, it may lead to oral diseases like dental caries (tooth decay) and periodontal diseases (gum diseases). The pathogenic bacteria from the dental plaque initiates the gingival inflammation (gingivitis) which is reversible with proper oral hygiene measures. Initially the pathogenic bacteria resides above the gum line and later they start to migrate beneath the gum line causing the destruction of tooth structures and loosening the tooth.

oral health

Losing teeth is not a good thing to happen. But if you give importance to few things, maybe we can have a good oral care. So when should someone start oral health care?  Who else should be involved in it? Your caregivers!!

I am not kidding!!!…

Streptococcus mutans  is the main organism which causes dental caries.Well delineated age range when S.mutans are acquired is infants age 19 months to 31 months(1year 7 months to 2 years 7 months) .This is called window of infectivity. This time is when there is emergence of primary molars which act as seat for bacterial colonization.

oral health care

High starch foods (potato chips ,bread, rice etc) seem to be the most cariogenic because even if they are low in sucrose they retain fermentable sugars over longer periods of time (the sugars are not washed out or diluted rapidly by saliva).Therefore maintaining a cariogenic situation over a longer period of time. Hence having a hard candy is better than the sticky starchy foods!

How to prevent this?

  • If the mother is expecting or just recently given birth to an infant a strong program aimed at lowering or eliminating mutans from the mother’s mouth should be initiated.
  • Any untreated caries should be taken care of.
  • Regular cleanings on a quarterly recall schedule should be established.
  • Alsoif any other person is going to be a frequent care provider other than the parents, they should be treated well. (Hardest part!!!)
  • Treatment should be continued in the infant through the age of 36 months.

In this way it may be possible to delay the acquisition of S.mutans by the infant and therefore possibly reduce the number of caries he /she will get in life. It appears that those who acquire mutans earlier in life are more at risk for having both higher levels of S.mutans later in life (age 15) and more carious lesions later in life.

Dr.Nisha George
Dr.Nisha George

Dr. Nisha George completed her graduate degree in dentistry from Bangalore, following which she completed her PG diploma in hospital administration from Apollo. She is currently pursuing her Masters in oral biology research from Rutgers University in USA.

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