5 Top Tips From Your Dentist in Blackburn For Your Toddler’s First Dental Check-Up

With all the new routines and behaviours we need to learn when looking after our young children, we can easily forget that we need to also look after their teeth. Dental conditions are the number one cause of preventable hospitalisations in children 0 to 9 years. Fortunately, you can avoid these consequences by instituting routines early and visiting your dentist regularly.

Visits to the dentist can be frightening as a new experience. It can help to think about the best way to prepare your child for their first dental checkup and how you can make the experience as straightforward as possible for them.

Make Oral Care a Routine Part of Your Child’s Life

Good dental care occurs from birth. Babies begin teething at around three months, and their first teeth appear when they are between six and nine months old. You can start cleaning your baby’s teeth from the moment they appear, using a soft cloth or toothbrush and water. Baby toothbrushes are readily available. If you’d like to start using it, try a fluoridated children’s toothpaste.  The fluoride concentration is lower than adult toothpaste so it doesn’t really matter if they can’t rinse yet.  The most important thing is to use a very small amount.  About a rice grain amount.  

Make brushing teeth a family affair, and praise your kids for brushing. Let them play with the toothbrush and try to do it themselves before checking how they went. When teeth have grown in enough that they are touching together, you should begin teaching your child how to floss.

Give your children a healthy diet and encourage them to drink tap water, which is fluoridated to protect our teeth.  

Schedule Their First Dental Visit Wisely

You should book your toddler’s first dental visit as soon as their teeth first appear. Regular early visits mean that your child will be comfortable as they group up, knowing they don’t need to be afraid of dentists. Toddlers should be visiting the dentist at least every six months. Fortunately, many Australian children are eligible for government funded dental visits as part of the Child Dental Benefits Schedule.

Try to book the visit for when your child is ordinarily awake and arrive early so they can spend time getting used to their environment. We also highly recommend bringing them during your own checkups, so they see how ordinary the experience is for everyone.

Stay With Your Child to Offer Comfort

Nothing makes a child more comfortable than knowing someone they love is there for support. Letting them be able to see you can be quite helpful. When in the checkup, positive verbal communication is comforting. 

It is also important to encourage your child to pay close attention to the dentist and what they are doing. This can make your child feel more comfortable and help them understand that the dentist is someone they can trust to tell them the right thing.

Use Positive Reinforcement

The dentist is easier to visit for children who already think of them as the good guys. Always talk about your own dental visits positively when around your baby because they are very attentive to your feelings. 

We also recommend reading books with them about visiting the dentist and letting them watch children’s shows about it before their visit. Popular children’s characters like Dora the Explorer, Peppa Pig, and Spongebob Squarepants all have visited the dentist and had wonderful experiences!

Be Patient

The first dental check-up can be a fun, stress free event. . Our dentists have years of experience working with children and will make things as comfortable as we can for both of you. However, there is no need to feel frustrated, embarrassed or concerned if the first visit ends up with a few tears. New experiences are always a little scary for kids and adults alike.

When booking a follow up visit, let the child know how great they were and remind them how much easier the next one will be. Take the time to confirm your own next appointment, and see that it gets even easier from here.

Schedule Your Toddler’s First Dental Check-Up With Your Local Dentist

At Whitehorse Dental, we feel a good time to start bringing your child in is when they are about 2 years old.  At that age they have most or all of their baby teeth and it’s a great time to start forming good habits which will ensure they have a lifetime of healthy teeth.  Prevention is better than cure! Our dentists are experienced in child dentistry and provide specialised treatment options for those children who need extra care. Contact Whitehorse Dental today to arrange appointments for the whole family!