Tooth decay in children is on the rise in Australia, with nearly all children aged 5 to 10 having an average of one and a half decayed, missing or filled baby teeth. Establishing a good relationship between child and dentist from an early age will help encourage proper oral health habits that will stay with them for life. At Dr Tony Heilberg Dentistry Cheltenham, we are highly regarded as one of the best Bayside family dental clinics specialising in affordable dental care for children of all ages. If you aren’t sure when you should you book your child’s first appointment or want to know how you can prepare your child for a visit to the dentist, read our guide below for expert advice.
When Should My Child First Visit a Dentist?
It is recommended that children visit a dentist within 6 months of their first tooth breaking through or by the time they turn two. The aim of the first visit is to introduce your child to the dental clinic, and allow them to explore various instruments and get comfortable in the chair. Promoting healthy oral hygiene and habits should begin from an early age, behaviours learnt when children are young tend to stick with them throughout their life.
Why is it Important to Look After Baby Teeth?
Even though they eventually fall out to make way for adult teeth, cleaning baby teeth is still very important. Neglecting to care for baby teeth can cause decay and removal of these teeth due to decay can cause crowding problems with their adult teeth when they emerge.
Start a Good Cleaning Routine Early
Children need to brush their teeth twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste. Brushing should last for at least two minutes. Parents should brush their children’s teeth until they are around 7 years of age and flossing will need parental assistance until the age of 10.
Tooth Decay Has a Significant Impact On a Child’s Health and Wellbeing
Like other bacterial infections, tooth decay can worsen if left untreated. Children with tooth decay can be affected by:
- Pain and discomfort
- Difficulty chewing, affecting growth and development
- Poor self-esteem and social isolation
- Speech development problems
- Higher risk of damage to developing permanent teeth
How Often Should a Child See a Dentist?
Just like adults, it is recommended that children visit a dentist for check-up every six months.
The reasons for this include:
- Early signs of tooth decay and other potential issues can be diagnosed and treated before they become major problems.
- Regular dentist trips can ease a worried or anxious child. By making a trip to the dentist a routine event, children become familiar with and comfortable in the environment.
- Check-ups give you a chance to ask the dentist any questions or talk about any concerns you may have with your child’s oral health.
How to Prepare a Child for Their First Dental Appointment?
Start by selecting a family dental clinic that specialises in treating toddlers and children. Most family dental practices will make the visit as calm and relaxed as possible. Many children will be worried or scared before their first visit so it’s important to make it a positive experience.
- Encourage your child to watch you brush your teeth, and get them involved by letting them hold the toothbrush or squeeze the toothpaste onto your brush.
- Make brushing your teeth a game and get your child to copy you by brushing their teeth with a baby toothbrush.
- Wipe baby gums with a damp cloth during bath time. This will get them used to their teeth and gums being touched.
- Sing songs when it’s brushing time to make it a fun experience.
- Talk about visiting the dentist, all the amazing instruments they use and the benefits of keeping teeth and gums clean and healthy.
If you are looking for the best Bayside family dental clinic, make an appointment with Dr Tony Heilberg Dentistry in Cheltenham today. Our dental staff are highly experienced when it comes to the oral health of children and aim to make every visit a relaxed and positive dental experience. Give us a call today on (03) 9583 2233 or request an appointment online now.