Call Us: (02) 9538 7028

As parents, there’s nothing more infectious than the gleaming smiles of our children. Their dental health becomes a paramount concern from their first tooth’s breakthrough to their gleeful giggles during playtime. But when should their first dental visit be? How do we ensure that they brush correctly? Dive into this guide to discover essential tips and practices to ensure your child’s dental care starts on the right foot, paving the way for a lifetime of radiant smiles. 


First Dental Visit

The arrival of your child’s first tooth is an exciting milestone in their growth and a gentle nudge for parents to start thinking about dental health. Here’s what you need to know: 


Best Time for the First Visit

Dentists recommend scheduling your child’s inaugural dental appointment by their first birthday or as soon as the first tooth appears—whichever comes first. While this may seem early, it sets the foundation for good oral health practices and helps identify potential issues early on. 


What to Expect During the Visit

first dental visit childInitial dental visits primarily focus on introducing your child to the dental environment and making them comfortable. The dentist will:

  • Review your child’s medical history.
  • Conduct a gentle examination of the teeth, jaw, bite, gums, and oral tissues.
  • Clean any teeth that have erupted.
  • Guide parents on proper infant oral care techniques.
  • Discuss feeding practices, teething, oral habits, and recommended fluoride needs.
  • Remember, it’s essential to ensure this first experience is positive, as it can influence your child’s attitude toward dental care in the future.


Importance of Regular Check-ups

Routine dental visits are the linchpin of preventive oral care. They allow:

  • Early detection of potential issues like cavities, ensuring timely interventions.
  • Professional cleanings that remove built-up plaque or tartar.
  • Continuous education on evolving dental care needs as your child grows.
  • Reinforcement of the significance of oral hygiene, cultivating a habit that can last a lifetime.

Scheduling regular check-ups every six months helps maintain optimal oral health, building a strong foundation for your child’s dental future. 



One of the most anticipated (and sometimes challenging) phases in a baby’s first year is teething. Though an essential part of a child’s development, this natural process can be a period of discomfort and unrest. By understanding the signs and knowing how to help, parents can make this transition smoother for their little ones. 


Recognising Signs of Teething

Every baby experiences teething differently, but there are common symptoms to watch for:

  • Drooling: You might notice your baby drooling more than usual.
  • Chewing: An increased need to gnaw on things, from toys to their fingers.
  • Irritability: Unexplained fussiness or crying can often signal an emerging tooth.
  • Swollen, tender gums: Reddened or puffy gums where a new tooth is coming through.
  • Sleep disturbances: Teething might interrupt their usual sleep patterns.
  • Mild fever: Some babies might experience a slight temperature rise, though high fevers are not typical for teething and should be evaluated by a doctor. 


Tips to Alleviate Teething Discomfort

While teething can be a trying time, there are ways to soothe the pain:

  • Cold chew toys: A chilled (not frozen) teething ring can help numb the gums.
  • Gentle pressure: Massaging the gums gently with a clean finger can offer relief.
  • Teething gels: Over-the-counter teething gels can be helpful, but always consult a paediatrician before use.
  • Pain relief: If your baby seems especially uncomfortable, consult with your paediatrician about giving a dose of an infant pain reliever. 


Caring for New Teeth as They Emerge

As teeth break through, it’s crucial to start caring for them immediately:

  • Gentle brushing: Use a soft baby toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice) to clean the new tooth and surrounding gums.
  • Avoid sugars: Limit sugary foods and drinks, as they can lead to cavities even in tiny teeth.
  • Nighttime routine: Wipe or brush your teeth before bedtime and avoid sending the baby to bed with milk or juice, which can lead to tooth decay. 



Proper Brushing Techniques

Brushing is one of the cornerstones of dental health, and starting early ensures your child adopts the right habits from the get-go. But brushing isn’t just about moving the toothbrush around; it’s about doing it correctly and consistently. Here’s how to set the stage for a lifetime of good oral hygiene. 


Choosing the Right Toothbrush

Selecting an appropriate toothbrush is the first step:

  • Size: Opt for a brush for your child’s age group. It should comfortably fit in their mouth and reach all areas.
  • Bristles: Soft bristles are ideal as they won’t hurt the gums or enamel.
  • Handle: For younger children, larger handles designed for their grip will make brushing easier. As they grow, they adapt to their needs.
  • Replacement: Change the toothbrush every 3-4 months or when bristles begin to fray.


How to Make Brushing Fun for Kids

proper brushing flossing techniquesTransforming brushing from a chore to a fun activity can make a world of difference:

  • Themed Toothbrushes: Let them pick a toothbrush featuring their favourite character or colour.
  • Musical Timers: Play a 2-minute song they like, signalling when brushing is done.
  • Interactive Apps: Various dental care apps aim to make brushing an engaging activity for kids.
  • Brush Together: Make it a family activity. Children love mimicking adults.


Frequency and Duration of Brushing

Consistency is crucial:

  • Twice Daily: Brush in the morning and before bed.
  • Duration: Ensure they brush for two minutes, spending equal time on all sections of the mouth.
  • Post-meals: Encourage a quick rinse with water after meals to remove lingering food particles.


Tips for Parents to Help Their Children Brush

Even with the best intentions, children might need a little guidance:

  • Demonstrate: Before they start, show them the correct brushing motion.
  • Hand-over-hand: Especially for younger children, guide their hand initially to teach the right pressure and movements.
  • Check: After they’ve brushed, inspect to ensure they haven’t missed any spots.
  • Praise: Compliment their efforts and reinforce the importance of what they’re doing.

Establishing proper brushing techniques from a young age is a small investment with a lifetime of returns. By making it fun and routine, you’re setting your child up for a future of bright smiles and optimal dental health. 


Importance of Flossing

While brushing is often emphasised as the primary act of dental hygiene, flossing is equally crucial in maintaining oral health. Flossing helps clean tight spaces between teeth where a brush might not reach, preventing cavities and gum disease. 


teething concerns babiesWhen to Start Flossing

Begin flossing your child’s teeth once they touch each other, typically around 2 to 6.

Initially, parents should handle the flossing to ensure it’s done correctly, and as children grow, they can gradually take over with supervision. 


Techniques to Floss Children’s Teeth

Proper technique is paramount to effective flossing:

  • Length: Use about 18 inches of dental floss. Wind most of the floss around both middle fingers, leaving an inch or two to work with.
  • Grip: Hold the floss taut between your thumbs and index fingers.
  • Gentle Glide: Slide the floss gently between the child’s teeth using a rubbing motion.
  • Curve: Curve the floss around each tooth, making a ‘C’ shape, and gently slide it under the gum line. Move the floss up and down to clean both sides of every tooth.
  • Fresh Sections: As you move from tooth to tooth, use a fresh section of floss to avoid re-depositing debris.


Making Flossing a Routine

The key to flossing is consistency:

  • Same Time as Brushing: Make flossing a habit at the same time as brushing, ideally at night before bed.
  • Use Tools: For children who might find traditional floss challenging, consider using floss sticks or holders.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Praise your child for flossing and discuss the importance of this practice.
  • Model Behaviour: Let your child see you floss regularly. They’re more likely to adopt habits they see adults practising.

Flossing is more than just an additional step after brushing; it’s a vital component of a comprehensive oral hygiene regimen. By teaching your child the importance and technique early on, you’re fostering habits that can protect their teeth throughout their lives. 



The journey to impeccable dental health begins in the earliest years of a child’s life. By prioritising their oral care from the moment the first tooth appears, parents lay a foundation that promises a radiant smile and overall health benefits. The lifelong advantages of early dental care are numerous, from reducing the risk of cavities and gum disease to fostering self-confidence with a gleaming set of teeth.

As parents, our proactive approach today becomes our child’s robust health tomorrow. The habits we instil, the routines we set, and the importance we place on dental visits can shape their perceptions and practices for years to come. Therefore, it’s not just about today’s dental check-up; it’s about creating a lifetime of dental well-being.

We encourage you to visit Bright-On Bay Dental for comprehensive and compassionate dental care. Our dedicated team is eager to guide your child’s dental journey, ensuring bright smiles and even brighter ones today. Schedule your appointment by calling on (02) 9538 7028 today! 




Children’s Oral Health: Identify and Prevent Problems Like Tooth Decay 

Children’s Oral Health