The Australian Dental Association recommends that your child’s first oral health visit take place at 12 months of age, or shortly after the eruption of the first baby teeth. Your dentist will evaluate your child’s oral and dental health and diagnose any problems, which may exist. Do not wait until a problem occurs. Preventive dental visits from an early age lay the foundation for a lifetime of good oral and dental health During your child’s visit, the dentist will:
- 1. Look at the child's face and jaws for signs of mal-alignment
- 2. Try to look at any teeth that are through to make sure they are healthy
- 3. Instruct the parent or guardian on diet, brushing and general oral health tips Identifying signs of early childhood decay is vital. It starts as white patches on the teeth that don't seem to be able to be cleaned off. They are often close to the gum and they eventually break down further to form holes
Tips for Children's First Visit:
- Make the dental appointment for a time when your child is well-rested.
- Read your child a story about going to the dentist and tell them it's a positive thing.
- Take time to play "dentist" with your child at home. Pretend that you’re counting teeth, then switch roles and let your child play "dentist".
- Don’t convey anxiety about the dental visit to your child. For example, don't say "It's OK, the dentist won't HURT you" or "The dentist won't need to use the INJECTION". These are usually the parent's fears, not the child's.
- Don't use negative words like: hurt, shot, needle, or drill around your child.
- 6. Don’t worry if your child cries a little during the visit. A very young child may react that way but will be won over eventually.
Brushing & Flossing Instructions:
Children’s hands and mouths are different than adults. They need to use toothbrushes designed for children. Both adults and children should use brushes with soft, rounded bristles for gentle cleaning. Change to a new brush about every three months. Wipe infant’s teeth gently with a moist, soft cloth or gauze square. As babies grow, use a child’s toothbrush with a small, pea-sized dab of special children's toothpaste. By age two or three begin to teach your child to brush. You will still need to brush where they miss. Dentists and hygienists often advise children to use a gentle, short, back and forth motion to remove plaque. When children are older, they can switch to this method. Hold the brush at a 45 degrees angle towards teeth and gums. Move brush back and forth with short strokes, about a half tooth wide. Brush the inside and outside surfaces of each tooth, top and bottom. Hold the brush flat on top of the teeth and brush the chewing surfaces. Floss between teeth daily. For most toddlers, getting them to brush their teeth can be quite a challenge. Some suggestions for making tooth brushing less of a battle can include:
- 1. Let your child brush your teeth
- 2. Let your child pick their toothbrush
- 3. Let your child brush his own teeth first (you will likely have to “help out”).
- 4 .Read your child some children’s books about tooth brushing.
- 5. Have everyone brush their teeth at the same time.
It is also beneficial to create a “tooth brushing routine”. And stick to the same routine each day.