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Preparing for your child’s first dental visit

Happy baby smiling at camera over dad’s shoulder

Your little one’s first visit to the dentist is a milestone moment. But, you’re bound to have a few questions about the best way to ensure this is the start of a long and happy relationship with healthy dental habits.

Dr Zena Aseeley, a dentist at Bupa Dental Care, has answers to some of our new parents’ most common questions.

Keep reading to discover everything from the signs your baby is ready for their first appointment to the most common children’s dental problems to look out for and much more.

A: “Around six months is generally a good age for a first appointment. But a good rule of thumb is to come and see us once the first few baby teeth have come through – or by their first birthday at the very latest.”

A: Baby’s first appointment is about us all getting to know each other. If your little one is comfortable, your dentist will have a quick look in their mouth and gently feel around the gum line. But it’s much more about learning about your baby’s habits, routine and things that might affect their dental health – like whether they’re bottle or breastfed.”

A: “Book in regular check-ups every six months from when your baby starts teething. This won’t just help us to keep an eye on their progress and spot things like tooth decay early – it also establishes a positive routine from the start. Generally, the more familiar and normal we can make things, the better.“

A: “Children are naturally confident if their environment feels safe and familiar. So, we make the practice feel like a fun, welcoming place to be. For example, I encourage them to look inside their parents’ mouths with my mirror or to practice brushing using the huge tooth model and brush that I have in practice. Some children also find it beneficial to bring a favourite toy or comforter to make themselves feel more at home.”

A: “If a child is ever really uncomfortable or refuses to open their mouth, I just talk to them. Reassure them. Remain on their level and get them to a place where they’ll be more willing next time.”

A: “It’s the same issue we see most commonly in adults: tooth decay. Every time you eat, you lower your teeth’s natural protected state. And, because children tend to graze throughout the day, they are even more at risk of exposing their teeth to harmful sugars and acids found in food and drinks. Sticking to regular structured mealtimes and brushing thoroughly twice a day are the best ways to stop decay before it starts.”

A: “Get those good brushing habits started early and stick with it. Try to make it as fun and interactive as possible. And, of course, trying to monitor and limit sugary food and drinks in the first place is always going to stand you in good stead.”

Book your child’s free NHS check-up today

Kids go free on the NHS until they reach 18, or 19 and are still in full-time education.

Children can also see our dentists for free until the age of five with Bupa Dental Essentials, an alternative treatment level between NHS and full private.

Find your local NHS practice

Bupa Dental Care is a trading name of Oasis Healthcare Limited. Registered in England and Wales number: 03257078. Registered office: Bupa Dental Care Vantage Office Park, Old Gloucester Road, Hambrook, Bristol, United Kingdom BS16 1GW.

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