At what age should your child get regular checkups/cleanings?

A lifetime of healthy smiles starts at a younger age than many parents think.

Keeping your child healthy will always be your No. 1 priority. For you, that probably means scheduling doctors appointments and booster shots. But be sure you don't forget to schedule regular dental cleanings as your little one begins growing.

When should my child first see a dentist

An initial visit to the dentist is suggested at a younger age than many parents might expect. Children typically begin teething at around three months old and teeth may become visible at as young as six months , according to Health Direct Australia. As teething begins, it's important for you to continually clean your kid's gums, and any teeth that appear.

Be prepared to schedule your child's first checkup when their first baby tooth becomes visible. If no baby teeth have appeared by their first birthday, you should schedule their first dental appointment then. Think of it as another way to celebrate. Typically by the 12-month date, however, a baby should have somewhere around eight teeth, according to Health Direct Australia, but this can vary widely. If your kid is far ahead or behind that number, there's no need to worry. Overall, the earlier your baby sees the dentist the better, according to the Australian Dental Association (ADA).

Once your child has seen the dentist for the very first time, you can begin booking them down for regular appointments. A checkup at least every six months is typically recommended. If your child is having issues like bleeding or swollen gums, loose adult teeth or abscesses, you should schedule an appointment immediately regardless of how long it is until the next checkup.

Scheduling regular cleanings

As your child grows up, each dental appointment will take on a slightly different role. At their very first appointment, the dentist will ensure that your child's oral health has progressed properly up until this point, including looking at the development of their gums and teeth and ensuring that there hasn't been any tooth decay. Even though baby teeth should all eventually fall out, it's important to ensure that they stay healthy. Decaying baby teeth can damage the developing adult teeth and lead to spacing issues down the road.

From the first appointment on, your child's mouth will change rapidly. Baby teeth will come in and then begin to fall out, an exciting time for many children. Adult teeth will begin to come in. Regular appointments are needed to check on progress, ensure healthy habits and correct any problems that appear on the way. At around 7 years old, the dentist will begin looking seriously if orthodontic treatment may be necessary for your child.

There are certain things you can do as the parent to prepare your little one for a successful visit. Be sure to present as calm and give your child reasonable expectations for how the checkup will go. That means that you shouldn't tell your child to expect their cleaning to hurt, or not hurt for that matter. The ADA also states that you shouldn't bribe your child for visits or use visits to the dentist as a punishment for bad behaviour. All of these could potentially reinforce negative feelings towards trips to the dentist that might last well into adulthood. Finally, the ADA recommends not telling your kid to "be brave" during visits. Not only is there nothing to be scared of, it's important you know that your child already is brave.

Always remember that paediatric dentists are there to help and care for your child and have their best interests at heart. If your little one is especially stressed about their visit, it's up to you to remember that they have nothing to worry about, and try to project confidence.

Looking out for your rug rat's oral health doesn't just happen every six months. If your child is old enough for regular cleanings, they're definitely old enough to begin learning oral hygiene habits that can last a lifetime. It's up to you to encourage healthy brushing, a good tooth-friendly diet, and other essentials of oral health. Teach your child how to brush their own teeth, and make sure they do. Model good brushing behaviour yourself. Flossing can also begin as two as your child has two adjacent teeth. Unlike brushing this may require you to play a more active role.

Leading dentist and dental hygienists in the heart of Wellington

With so much information knowing the best way to look after your child and their dental hygiene can be a challenge. Luckily City Dentists is here to help! City Dentists takes the convenience of its patients to heart, with its central location by the Wellington train station, professional staff and modern offices.

If you want to get your teeth looking better than ever, City Dentists can help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment

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