When to take your child to the dentist

Interim Clinical Director of Bupa Dental Care at Bupa UK
19 April 2017

Looking after your child’s teeth is really important, and part of this is knowing when you should take them to see the dentist. There are no hard and fast rules. But as Dr Pratish Dholakia outlines in this video, there’s no harm in getting your child as familiar with the dentist as soon as possible. If you’re due for a check-up, bring them with you – we can pop them in the chair and help them get familiar with the experience.

There’s no exact, ‘catch all’ answer to when or how often you should take your child to the dentist. It will differ from one child to the next. But to give you an idea, I’ve outlined some of my general recommendations.

Your child’s first appointment

As a rule of thumb, you should take your child to the dentist when their first milk teeth come through and when a sibling or parent have their check-ups. Not only will it help them get familiar with the dentist from a young age, it’ll allow the dentist to get to know your child’s teeth and any habits that could affect their oral health in the future.       


How regularly you need to take your child for check-ups will depend on how well their teeth are doing and the risk of anything going wrong. This will be different from one child to the next, so it’s important to follow your dentist’s advice.

In general, the shortest amount of time between dentist visits for someone of any age is three months. The longest for under 18s is 12 months (a year). Depending on your dentist’s assessment of your child’s teeth and their general oral health, they may suggest returning in three, six, nine or 12 months.    

Your dentist should let you know when they’d like to see your child again at the end of their appointment.

Taking your child to the dentist is just one part of looking after their teeth and protecting their oral health. Others include:

  • taking care over the things they eat and drink
  • making sure they brush their teeth correctly, using the right tools for the job

For more information on how to look after your child’s teeth, take a look at our information page: Children’s teeth – how to look after them.

Dr Steve Preddy
Interim Clinical Director of Bupa Dental Care at Bupa UK

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