First times are exciting, especially with little ones around. Whether it’s their first step, word or tooth, each one is a milestone in your child’s life that carries new possibilities… and responsibilities. Baby gates on the staircase, teaching them how to speak properly, and dental appointments are now a regular part of your lives, it’s no wonder that parenting is a full-time job! While we’ve already covered when to start taking your child to the dentist – around the time of their first tooth or close to their first birthday (yes, more exciting firsts!) – how often should you take your child to the dentist after that first appointment? Keep reading to find out.
How often your child should see a dentist and why it’s important
Most dentists in Perth will recommend bringing your child back every six to twelve months for a checkup and clean. However, if there are pressing issues that need to be dealt with in a timely manner, they may suggest that you return earlier. After the first checkup and clean, your dentist should tell you when to book your child’s next dental appointment, based on their individual circumstances.
Coming back at least every six to twelve months is important in your child’s early years because it:
- Establishes a positive relationship with the dentist, meaning less anxious behaviour at future appointments (also known as Dentophobia)
- Helps to detect early signs of tooth decay and plaque buildup
- Can prevent future dental problems, such as overcrowding, tooth decay and more
- Promotes early detection of potential issues and allows for treatment before they become a bigger problem
- Educates the child and parents on how to properly look after their oral health
- Provides the opportunity for personalised and professional advice.
How to look after your kid’s dental health in-between visits
Your child’s oral health and hygiene habits don’t stop in the dental practice, rather they need to be reinforced during the months between visits. Not only is it important for your child to learn dental hygiene, but it can also help to reduce the risk of future dental problems (and dental bills).
Here are our top general tips for giving your child a good start in dental hygiene:
- Begin brushing their teeth with a small children’s toothbrush once their first tooth comes through. Use a rice grain-size dab of children’s toothpaste
- Talk positively about dental hygiene. Use language like ‘you get to’ rather than ‘you have to’
- When they are three years old, you can increase the toothpaste to a pea-sized amount
- Avoid bottles right around sleep time, to prevent the risk of “baby bottle tooth decay.” During sleep, we don’t produce much saliva. This means any sugar from milk or juice will stay on your child’s teeth and can potentially cause decay
- Increase tap water consumption as it contains fluoride which is great for dental health
- Watch the number of sugary snacks being eaten, consider saving them for special treats
- Until they’re about 8 years old, you should be helping your little one brush their teeth twice a day.
A regular schedule of dentist appointments early on in life will provide your child with a strong foundation for positive dental habits, to carry into their adult years. We recommend speaking with a dentist to receive personalised advice for your child’s dental health. Book a dental appointment at Claremont Dental online today or call us on 9383 1200 and we can answer any questions you may have.