Ideally, you'll take your child to see the dentist once every six months.
This may seem like a lot, but there's plenty of reason to ensure your child is getting frequent dental care from a young age. After all, baby teeth are just as important for eating, speech and development as permanent teeth.
In this article, we'll discuss when you should start taking your child to the dentist and why you need to maintain regular dentist visits from then on.
When should your child's first dental appointment be?
As soon as that first tooth appears, it's susceptible to decay.
Generally speaking, your child should see a dentist as soon as their first tooth appears – this is usually around six months old. In some cases, a first tooth may take longer to come through. Wait no longer than a year after your child's birth before taking them to visit the dentist.
As soon as that first tooth appears, it's susceptible to decay. This means you need to take care of your child's teeth even before they can brush their own. Bringing your child to the dentist means you can discuss the best way to care for their teeth at home and lets you introduce your child to the clinic environment.
Here in New Zealand, children under the age of 18 are entitled to free dental care from select providers, and the Ministry of Health recommends parents enrol their children in the Community Oral Health Service as soon as possible after birth.
How regular should check-ups be after my child's first dental appointment?
Adults and children alike should aim to see the dentist at least once every six months. Of course, should any complications occur before then, it's vital you take your child to the dentist as soon as possible because problems may quickly escalate. Likewise, any accidental bumps to your child's teeth should lead to a quick check-up with the dentist.
Here are just a few reasons you should take your child to visit the dentist every six months:
- You'll help them develop healthier habits: As many as one in seven people are afraid of the dentist, according to the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council – but there's really nothing to be scared of. Taking your child to the dentist regularly allows them to acclimate to the environment, become familiar and hopefully feel comfortable seeking dental care later in life.
- You'll identify any issues before they escalate: The smallest problem can spiral into an expensive fix if left unchecked. Regular dental visits mean your child's dentist can make sure upkeep is sufficient and there are no underlying signs of decay. Catching problems early helps you save money on more extreme, expensive procedures.
- Your child's dentist may be able to identify early signs of bodily health issues: Oral and bodily health are intrinsically linked. Ensuring your child sees both the doctor and dentist regularly means you're doing your due diligence to prevent illness and keeping your little one happy and healthy.
- You can gain valuable home care advice: Lastly, your child's dentist can talk to you about the future of your child's dental care. They can equip you with the tools you need to teach your child proper oral hygiene routines and encourage a long, healthy life for your child.
City Dentists offers children over 12 years old a 10 per cent discount on any dental procedures.
For more information about your child's dental care, or to schedule a check-up, contact City Dentists on 04 978 4964 or book an appointment online.