PDF: Early Childhood Oral Health Guidelines

Early childhood caries
(ECC) is a serious dental condition occurring during the preschool years of a child’s life when developing primary (baby) teeth are especially vulnerable.

It can be a devastating condition often requiring hospitalisation and dental treatment in an operating theatre under general anaesthesia.

The pain, psychological trauma, health risks, and costs associated with restoration of carious teeth for children affected by ECC can be substantial, yet it is mostly preventable. 

The Early Childhood Oral Health Guidelines for Child Health Professionals (Guidelines) supports the notion that oral health is an integral component of general health.

It acknowledges that Child Health Professionals, such as Paediatricians, Child and Family Health and Community Nurses, Aboriginal Health Workers, General Practitioners and Practice Nurses are often better placed than oral health professionals to access, engage with, and guide new parents about the importance of oral health because of their direct involvement through child health checks and immunisation appointments.

This reinforcement will help children and their families improve their oral health and to access appropriate dental care when required.

Topics covered in the Guidelines include recognition and prevention of oral disease, oral health referral processes, and useful information on accidents and trauma, with accompanying recommendations on their management. 

The recommendations are supported by robust data, where such is available, and other recommendations may represent a consensus of expert opinion in Australia.

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