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Introducing your child to the dentist: when to bring them in and what will happen

Oral HealthBringing your child to visit the dentist from an early age can help to set them up with good oral health habits for life. Too many children in the UK still suffer unnecessarily from problems caused by untreated tooth decay, and whilst this situation is continuing to improve, no child should have to suffer the pain, discomfort, distress and social stigma caused by entirely preventable oral health conditions.

Studies have also shown that early visits to the dental practice can help to prevent dental phobia later in life. Many people who are scared to visit the dentist as an adult cite a negative experience during childhood as the trigger of their fear, so by ensuring that you find a good, child-friendly dentist right from the outset, you can protect your children from experiencing the problems associated with dental phobia.

At Harley Street Dental Clinic the children’s dentistry team is led by Professor Raman Bedi, who is chairman of the Global Child Dental Fund and co-chair of a global expert committee on caries management and prevention. He leads a team dedicated to providing the highest standards of care in paediatric dentistry, and will ensure that every child’s experience of the dentist is a positive, fun one.

In terms of when you should bring your child to visit the dentist for the first time, most dentists agree that the first visit should be made from the age of one year, when the first teeth have usually started to emerge. You should also begin brushing your baby’s teeth as soon as they appear.

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Brushing baby’s teeth may be a little challenging at first, but if you persist and make it into a game then your little one will soon get used to the sensation. Letting your baby watch you brush your own teeth or watching older siblings brush theirs can also help them normalise the experience.

Use only a small smear of toothpaste until the age of about three, when a pea-sized amount should be used. You should supervise children’s tooth brushing until the age of about seven.

To help keep your child’s teeth strong and healthy your dentist may apply fluoride varnish and fissure sealant to the teeth.

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