Journal of South Asian Association of Pediatric Dentistry

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VOLUME 3 , ISSUE 1 ( January-June, 2020 ) > List of Articles

Invited Opinion

Early Childhood Caries: Policy and Prevention

Francisco Ramos-Gomez

Keywords : Dental caries, Infant care, Oral health, Pediatric dentistry, Perinatal care, Prevention and control, Risk assessment, Socioeconomic factors

Citation Information : Ramos-Gomez F. Early Childhood Caries: Policy and Prevention. J South Asian Assoc Pediatr Dent 2020; 3 (1):3-6.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10077-3040

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 01-06-2020

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2020; The Author(s).


Background: Early childhood caries (ECC) is the most common chronic disease in children, aged 2–5 years, and is considered a priority action area by the World Dental Federation (FDI).1,2 The prevalence of ECC in children in India is extremely high and calls for immediate action.3 There is an urgent need for evidence-based oral health care and for the development of policies that support education, prevention, and healthy behaviors, specifically a national policy that recommends every child be seen by a dentist before the age of 1 year. Oral health is a matter of quality of life, overall health, social justice, and human rights. Materials and methods: There is a need to advocate for and promote a mandatory age-one visit to assess a child's risk level for ECC and establish a primary prevention plan. Effective oral health assessments for infants include six steps: caries risk assessment; knee-to-knee positioning of the child; toothbrush prophylaxis; a clinical examination; fluoride varnish treatment; and anticipatory guidance, counseling, and self-management goals. Recommendations: In order to increase oral health literacy and improve the oral health of children, certain recommendations should be prioritized and adhered to. These include the inclusion of risk assessment, anticipatory guidance, and self-management goals, an emphasis on ECC and oral health education, prioritizing primary prevention of ECC through healthy behaviors and the promotion of a mandatory age-one visit policy, interprofessional collaboration, and continued research of ECC inequalities and how to address them.

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