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15 July 2014

At what age can children start visiting the dentist?

At around six months of age, or at the time when their teeth first start to appear, it’s time to take your baby for their first ever dental check-up. This is important so that you’ll know whether your baby’s teeth are developing normally. Your dentist can also help you when it comes to providing guidelines on how to care for your baby’s teeth, as well as how to handle problems and situations such as teething.

When the child is older, it’s recommended that they should go with a parent on their appointment with the dentist. This is to ensure that the child gets used to the environment of a dental office, and the sights and sounds within. This will help put them at ease when it’s for them to go on their own dental check-ups.

Consult your dentist on how regularly you should take your child for a check-up. In general, it’s recommended to take children to the dentist at least once a year.

Take note to start looking after the development of your baby’s teeth once it starts to appear. When it does, clean your baby’s teeth with the use of baby-formulated toothpaste containing fluoride. Rub a tiny amount of toothpaste gently around your baby’s teeth and gums using circular motions. Do this twice daily. To apply the toothpaste, use a clean, sterilized piece of cloth or gauze wrapped around your finger. This is recommended if your baby doesn’t have that many teeth yet. As more teeth appear, you can switch to using a baby toothbrush. These are brushes with very small heads and fine, soft bristles especially designed for use on babies. The most important thing is to always be mindful and gentle when applying toothpaste to your baby’s teeth. Small children only require a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.

Children require help with brushing their teeth until around seven years of age. During this time, the parent is responsible for overseeing and administering the child’s dental hygiene routines. It is important to teach them early on the correct way of brushing and caring for their teeth.

To teach your child how to properly brush their teeth, start by placing your child in front of the bathroom mirror and situating yourself comfortably behind your child, either standing up or sitting down. Hold up your child’s chin gently to allow you to gain access to both the bottom and top teeth. Apply a pea-sized amount of toothpaste to your child’s toothbrush. Move the toothbrush in gentle, circular motions around the teeth, making sure to go over each individual tooth. Brush behind the teeth and very gently along the gum line. Tell your child to spit out the toothpaste after brushing. Tell them to not to rinse right away to allow time for the fluoride in the toothpaste to come into contact with the teeth and work effectively in preventing tooth decay. Practice this routine without fail twice a day—ideally after breakfast and before bed time. When your child is ready to brush their teeth on their own, go over the same routine with them to check for consistency and that they’re doing it correctly. Remember to praise your child when they’ve successfully done it on their own and encourage them to stick with the routine daily. If they didn’t do something right, correct them gently and show the proper way. This will help enforce good dental hygiene in children at an early age.

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