5 Don’ts Of Dental Visits For Children

The 5 Don’ts Of Dental Visits For Children

At what age should you first take your child to visit the dentist? In this article, we’ll take a look at first dental visits and explain what not to tell children before they visit the dentist.

When should a child have their first dental checkup?

In a 2014 Colgate Cavity Report, it was reported that less than 10% of Aussie parents believed their child should first visit the dentist before they turn one. Many of the parents surveyed believed that, until a child has a set of full teeth, visiting a dentist is unnecessary.

The Australian Dental Association recommends that children have their first dental visit by the time they are 12 months old. Then the child should visit their dentist at least once a year for a checkup, or more often if they are at risk of developing dental disease.

It’s disappointing that by the age of 6 nearly half of Australian children will develop tooth decay. We know that a child is much less likely to develop tooth decay if they receive regular care from a dentist from an early age. Having regular checkups is a form of preventive dentistry.

There is more to a baby’s or young child’s dental visit than just having teeth checked. The dentist also checks the gums, lips, and inside of the mouth. They check the development of the bite and can sometimes provide intervention to correct developing orthodontic problems.

What can you expect during your child’s first dental visit?

Your dentist will take the time to make the experience calm and enjoyable for your child because it’s important that children have a good first experience with the dentist.

Your dentist will also review your baby’s bite, the soft tissues such as gums and cheeks, and habits like thumb sucking. It’s an opportunity to brush up on your own oral health knowledge as well as to discuss teething and brushing issues that have arisen for you and your little one. Bring your questions! We want to make sure you feel confident to take the best possible care of your baby’s teeth.

What should you never do before a dental appointment

The Australian Dental Association developed the 5 Don’ts of Dental Visits:

  1. Don’t tell your child to be brave
  2. Don’t give bribes
  3. Don’t tell your child that it won’t hurt or it will hurt
  4. Don’t use the dentist as a deterrent or punishment
  5. Don’t be anxious yourself! 

This article was first published on August 13, 2014. It was updated on October 15, 2020.