Dental home: Patient centered dentistry

J Int Soc Prev Community Dent. 2012 Jan;2(1):8-12. doi: 10.4103/2231-0762.103448.


Early childhood dental caries occurs in all racial and socioeconomic groups; however, it tends to be more prevalent in children in families belonging to the low-income group, where it is seen in epidemic proportions. Dental caries results from an overgrowth of specific organisms that are a part of normally occurring human flora. Human dental flora is site specific, and an infant is not colonized until the eruption of the primary dentition at approximately 6 to 30 months of age. The most likely source of inoculation of an infant's dental flora is the mother, or another intimate care provider, shared utensils, etc. Decreasing the level of cariogenic organisms in the mother's dental flora at the time of colonization can significantly impact the child's redisposition to caries. To prevent caries in children, high-risk individuals must be identified at an early age (preferably high-risk mothers during prenatal care), and aggressive strategies should be adopted, including anticipatory guidance, behavior modifications (oral hygiene and feeding practices), and establishment of a dental home by 1 year of age for children deemed at risk.

Keywords: Anticipatory guidance; diet; early childhood caries; oral hygiene; patient centered dental home.

Publication types

  • Review