Most parents think that they don’t need to take their kids to the dentist until they’ve developed a full set of teeth. After all, isn’t it too early to get a dental check up just for one tiny tooth?

However, it may be beneficial to take your child to their first dental check up at exactly this time.

Early child mouth examinations don’t take long but…

Paediatric dentists recommend that parents bring in their child for a check up when that first tooth appears or when they turn 1 year old – whichever happens first. A dentist won’t need to spend much time in this initial oral examination trying to find tooth decay and cavities, but they will focus on developmental issues and parental oral care advice.

Dentists focus on children and parents at first dental visits

Establishing effective good cleaning habits from the earliest age is essential for normal child oral development and health.

There are a lot of changes that occur when a child’s baby teeth start emerging. Parents once faced with minimal oral care, are suddenly challenged with “teething” when numerous incisors and canine start popping up in a short period of time, and their infant starts to eat more food. That’s when a dental consultation benefits parents more than the child.

At this stage, your dentist checks the whole mouth health and informs the parents on the best oral practices for their child. Most toddlers are not going to open their mouths and say “ah” so you can reach in with a toothbrush. So, your dentist can give you expert advice on this tricky process.

They’ll also discuss your child’s fluoride needs; bad oral habits (incl. mouth breathing, tongue thrusting & thumb sucking); developmental issues and milestones; teething; dental visits; and nutrition.

Early childhood tooth decay is 100% preventable through good oral hygiene

Unfortunately, thousands of Aussie kids under 2 years old require hospitalisation because of preventable tooth decay and cavities each year. So, it’s important to start cleaning an infant’s teeth when the first front teeth emerge because oral bacterial plaque immediately attaches to any tooth surfaces. Bacterial plaque can affect toddlers’ teeth as much as adults’.

At a first dental visit, your dentist can also start monitoring your child’s oral development from an early stage. So despite the briefest of oral examinations, a first dental visit involves a comprehensive consultation can take far longer than you think.