The best way to prepare for your child’s first dentist appointment

It's important to teach your children healthy brushing habits even if they just have baby teeth.

As a parent, it's important to give your child a head start on a lifetime of healthy smiles, and catch any potential issues as early as possible. A successful first trip to the dentist is an essential part of this process. To get your youngster into the dentist's chair without a hitch, be sure to follow our helpful advice. When your kid is old enough for their first check up, our friendly team of dentists and hygienists will be ready for them.

How old should my child be for their first visit?

A child's first visit to the dentist should typically come at an earlier age than many parents would think. The Australian Dental Association recommends a first check-in when a child's first tooth becomes visible. If your ankle biter has no visible teeth by their first birthday, parents should use the milestone as a signifier to schedule an appointment.

In general, earlier is always better than later.

What to expect from the first visit 

The first checkup is largely an opportunity for your child's dentist to gather information and ensure that your kid's oral health has progressed properly up until this point. From there, your child's dentist should talk to you about what you can expect moving forward. This may include potential to look out for as your child continues into the teething process. Other topics may include brushing, gum health, nutrition and thumb-sucking, or other similar habits.

Early brushing can help establish a lifetime of healthy habits.Early brushing can help establish a lifetime of healthy habits.

As with most other situations where you take your child out in public, you can sometimes deal with a struggle to maintain calm. That's completely normal. Try your best to keep your child under control using the same techniques you use for other occasions. Know that your child's dentist has seen it before and will understand.

Managing stress 

For some children, a trip to the dentist can rank up with monsters and the dark on their list of fears. Of course, unlike those other fears, regular visits to the dentist is essential to ensuring healthy teeth, and dentists and dental hygienists are there to help your child.

As a parent, you can help your little rug rat to understand this and be calm by modelling good behaviour yourself. No matter how anxious your child seems to be, it's important for you, as they parent, to keep calm. The way you talk about the dentist to your child can also be important for setting the right tone. Importantly, the ADA suggests not presenting a trip to the dentist as a form of punishment or bribing your child for good behaviour. Both of these actions may help to improperly frame the dentists as something to be avoided, rather than as an essential health service, and create pervasive attitudes that could continue into adolescence and adulthood.

Establishing healthy practices

Even if your child doesn't have their full set of teeth, general dental hygiene practices can still be encouraged and instilled at a young age. The first, and perhaps most obvious, step you can take at home is to teach your child how to brush their teeth, and make it a habit from an early age. Even if they won't be there forever, baby teeth still need to be cleaned. Decaying baby teeth can cause crowding problems for your kid's adult teeth down the road. According to the ADA, flossing can also begin as soon any two teeth that are next to each other have emerged. Flossing will generally require more parental guidance for a longer period of time than brushing.

Healthy oral care practices also go beyond brushing and flossing. Once your child has enough teeth to move beyond baby food, establishing a balanced and healthy diet is essential. In addition to ensuring that you are feeding your child the proper serving of fruits and vegetables, check that they are drinking plenty of water. In addition to hydrating the body, water serves as a natural aid to teeth-cleaning. Ultimately, ensuring that your child has healthy teeth from the very beginning goes far beyond scheduling their dentist visits. Incentivising healthy habits at an early age and on a day-to-day basis can go a long way, both now and in the future.

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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