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Female child in the dentist chair
Dr Chris Darby

Dr Chris Darby

A Guide to Children’s Dental Health: It’s Never Too Early to Start

Anyone with a child understands how important it is to instil healthy habits into their lives as early as possible. The choices you make for your child can impact them forever. You eat healthily in preparation for beginning a baby. You feed your baby healthy, nutritious food, make sure they get plenty of exercise, protect them from the sun and set them up with everything they need to be safe, but are you securing their dental health?

The Government’s Child Dental Benefits Schedule is evidence of the importance of oral health. This plan provides parents with $1,000, every two years, to spend on their children’s dental care, from the age of two to seventeen. This benefit goes a long way towards helping secure the lifelong dental health of your children.

The Key To Children’s Dentistry

The key to children’s dentistry is to involve the whole family in the process. Ideally, children should be brought to all of the family dental appointments from infancy. This process allows children to get used to the dental environment, makes them feel safe with the dentist and allows parents to absorb relevant information, from the dentist, on the correct measures for looking after their children’s’ teeth. It also gives the dentist a chance to monitor the child’s facial growth and development and make non-invasive interventions before growth goes off the rails.

In fact, it’s even better if the mother visits the dentist before and during pregnancy. This ensures that the mother is passing on healthy teeth and bacterial flora to her child, and also provides the parents with even more opportunities to absorb helpful tips. Good oral health is essential in helping a baby to grow to full genetic potential. Your dentist can also provide information on the importance of breastfeeding for proper facial development. They can also provide information on the dangers of sucking on thumbs or dummies and also developing incorrect breathing and swallowing patterns (like mouth breathing).

Read our blog on Pregnancy and Dental Care for more information on the link between healthy mouths and healthy babies.

Your Child’s First Visit

The Australian Dental Association recommends that your baby’s first dental visit should occur no later than 12 months after birth. However, at Lifetime Holistic Dental we recommend that we check your new born baby for tongue tie and discuss the importance breastfeeding has in growing a healthy face, airway, and straight teeth and beautiful smiles. With future visits every six months, your dentist can monitor oral health and help to create good habits, and educate mum and dad on how to maintain and prevent future dental problems.

With regular dental visits from birth to voting age, your dentist can properly educate your child on brushing, flossing and other important aspects of oral health. It’s all part of creating a routine that they can use for the rest of their lives. The results of this type of routine, and preventative health plans have been shown to be far better than reactive ones.

The Role of The Parent

You have to be on board if you want your children to enjoy beautiful, gleaming smiles for life. As a parent, you obviously see your children much more than your dentist. So, you play a crucial role in modelling good habits. You can reinforce the message by:

  • Brushing and flossing teeth together as a family, and using safe, not toxic tooth pastes and mouthwashes
  • Watching out for any bad habits (like grinding, clenching and even snoring). Ask us what snoring sounds like in a child
  • Providing a healthy diet, full of whole foods and limiting sugary drinks and foods
  • Playing an active role in monitoring their dental health, and bringing them to the dentist every 6 months

Dealing With a Fearful Child

Just like adults, there are plenty of kids that struggle with a trip to the dentist. The key to overcoming this fear is to avoid forming any negative connotations. This means staying away from any scary words like ‘pain’, ‘hurt’ or even ‘needle.’ Just use positive words and reinforce the positives of a visit.

If you get bombarded with questions, give vague answers and leave the tricky stuff to your dentist. We have been treating children for more than 30 years and know all the tricks. If you do not know the answer to their questions: It’s better to say: “Great question. We will ask the dentist that when we see him together”. Remember, just because you’re nervous, it doesn’t mean they they will be.

Early Learning Program For New Parents

Lifetime Holistic Dental is committed to supporting parents through the early years. We’ve developed a specific program for new parents. With six-monthly active maintenance appointments, we can help you every step of the way. We have created a program that will give you the information you need to tackle the tricky dilemmas of being a parent raising a child. Sound good? I wish I had this information when I was bringing up my children!

All the advice we pass on is 100% unbiased and based on what you and your child need. We’ll help you devise a unique long term plan that suits your priorities, your time constraints and your budget. We’ll explain all the options, what’s involved and how much they cost. The point is, you will have all the information and the expert help you need to make the decisions and take control of your child’s dental health.

This program is the perfect way to make the most of the Child Dental Benefits Schedule. We take care of all the details of payment, all you need to do is turn up with your baby, and we’ll take care of the rest.

You can learn more about the Child Dental Benefits Schedule here.

If you would like more information or to book an appointment, please contact us.

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