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Diet Counseling During the Infant Oral Health Visit

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Diet counseling is an integral part of anticipatory guidance during the infant oral health visit. Similar to dietary instructions for children of all ages, the primary emphasis is on sugar intake frequency. There are, however, other infant-specific dietary issues that must also be addressed during the infant oral health visit. Breast-feeding should be promoted during the first year of life, although ad libitum nocturnal breast-feeding should be discouraged after the first primary tooth erupts. Bottle-fed infants should not be put to sleep with the bottle. Weaning from the breast or the bottle should be encouraged by 12 to 14 months of age. Infants older than 6 months and with exposure to less than 0.3 ppm fluoride in their drinking water need dietary fluoride supplements of 0.25 mg fluoride per day. Only 4 to 6 oz of fruit juice should be consumed by infants per day. Infants should not be given powdered beverages or soda pop, as these drinks pose increased risk for dental caries. Iron-fortified infant cereals, along with breast milk or infant formula, should be consumed by infants who are at least 6 months of age. Cow's milk should be completely avoided in the first year of life and restricted to less than 24 oz per day in the second year of life. Parents should be cautioned regarding the potential of various foods to constitute a choking hazard for infants.
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Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: September 1, 2004

More about this publication?
  • Pediatric Dentistry is the official publication of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and the College of Diplomates of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. It is published bi-monthly and is internationally recognized as the leading journal in the area of pediatric dentistry. The journal promotes the practice, education and research specifically related to the specialty of pediatric dentistry. This peer-reviewed journal features scientific articles, case reports and abstracts of current pediatric dental research.
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