Dietary factors contributing to dental caries in infants has been considered by both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Dental Association. Increased risk for dental caries has been affirmed to be associated with an excessive intake of sugar by an expert panel of the World Health Organization.
Nutritional recommendations for infants include:
- Providing the infant only formula, milk or breast milk in bottles. Liquids such as sugar water, juice or soft drinks should be avoided.
- Infants should also finish their bedtime and nap time bottles before going to bed.
- A pacifier should never be dipped in sugar or honey.
- The child should be encouraged to drink from a cup by his first birthday.
- During the transition to solid foods, parents should provide nutritious foods.
Following these recommendations will reduce the amount of sugar exposure to the infant's teeth.
When an infant's first tooth appears, parents should discuss with their dentist about scheduling the first dental visit. Parents should treat the first dental visit as they would a checkup with the infant's physician. Once there, the dental team will be able to provide proper guidance on how to care for the infant's teeth.