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Introduce children to a dentist early

Friday 11 August 2017

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It is important for parents to model good brushing behaviours around children.

Did you know that almost 40 per cent of children aged 4-6 had decay in at least one tooth at their first dental appointment?

Or that half of Queensland children aged 5-10 had decay in their ‘baby’ teeth, leading to an average of four teeth needing dental treatment because of decay?

This Dental Health Week, Queensland Health is encouraging parents to organise a dental check-up for their children.

Director of Children’s Oral Health Services, Dr Bruce Newman, said a simple check-up can pick up problems early and provides a great opportunity to discuss healthy eating and tooth brushing.

“We can count the child’s teeth, check the alignment of teeth, check for early signs of decay and get the child used to the dental setting,” Dr Newman said.

“It’s also a good opportunity to ask your dentist to show you and your child how to use an effective and efficient brushing technique.”

Dr Newman said his top tip for parents is to model good oral hygiene behaviours to their children.

“Let children see you brush twice a day and they will see it as part of the normal daily routine and want brush as well,” he said.

“Ensuring your child has a healthy diet and that they understand what is an everyday food and what are sometimes foods.

“Most parents also don’t realise that children need help brushing their teeth properly until around the age of eight.”

Dr Newman said there are some tricks to getting children comfortable with going to the dentist.

“I recommend parents take their child along to their own dental appointments,” he said.

“The child can sit on the parent’s lap at the end of the appointment and go for a ride in the chair.

“They can also be shown the exciting technology we use, like the triplex which blows air and water, as well as the light and the mirror.

“By then they would have seen their mother and/or father in the chair and know that there is nothing to be concerned about when you have a check-up.

“It is the old familiarisation technique that you can start very early in a child’s life.”

More than 80 per cent of Queensland children are eligible for free dental care until they are 17. To find out if your child is eligible, contact your nearest School Dental or Community Oral Health clinic.

Last updated: 23 August 2017