Children should have a dental check by the time they turn two.
Dental checks are important because:
- the early signs of tooth decay and other problems can easily be missed by families
- small problems can be treated before they become larger problems
- they give you a chance to ask questions or talk about any concerns you may have
- your dentist can help prevent decay with treatments such as fluoride application and dental sealants
Oral health professionals who may perform dental checks for children include:
- oral health therapists
- dental therapists
- dental hygienists.
Other professionals who might perform dental checks for very young children include:
- maternal and child health nurses
- practice nurses (at your GP clinic).
These professionals will refer your child to an oral health professional if necessary.
Tips for positive dental visits
- Take your child with you when you have a check-up so that they can see what happens.
- Children learn about the dentist by listening to others. Make sure you only say positive things about your dental experiences in front of children.
- Talk about dental visits being part of regular routines that help to keep people healthy.
- Make appointments early in the day so your child is not tired.
- Arrive a little before the appointment time to let your child become familiar with the new surroundings.
- During the dental visit, let the oral health professional have your child’s full attention.
- It is not necessary to bribe children to see an oral health professional. Be positive about dental visits and highlight the new, interesting and fun aspects of visiting the dental clinic.
Frequency of dental check-ups for children
Everyone has different oral health needs and risk levels which determine how often they should have a check-up. Talk with your oral health professional about how often your child needs a check-up.
Keeping children’s teeth healthy
Tips for keeping children’s teeth healthy include:
- Help your child to brush their teeth until they are about seven or eight years old. Brush twice a day; in the morning and before bed.
- When children start brushing their own teeth, check to see that they have removed all of the plaque (build-up on teeth).
- Offer a wide variety of nutritious foods and have healthy snacks on hand:
- healthy, low-sugar snacks include: vegetables, cheese, savoury foods
- less healthy, high-sugar snacks include: sweet biscuits, sweetened/flavoured yoghurts, muesli bars.
- Avoid sugary foods and drinks (including soft drinks, fruit juice and flavoured milk), especially between meals.
- Offer tap water regularly. Most of Victoria’s tap water has fluoride in it, which is good for teeth.
- Look in your child’s mouth often to check for any early signs of tooth decay.
The Child Dental Benefits Schedule
The Commonwealth Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) provides assistance for basic dental treatment over a two-year period for eligible children.
A child is eligible if they are aged 2–17 years, are eligible for Medicare and receive Family Tax Benefit Part A or another relevant Australian Government payment.
Visit Dental Health Services Victoria for more information.
Where to get help
This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by:
Dental Health Services Victoria
Content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional. Content has been prepared for Victorian residents and wider Australian audiences, and was accurate at the time of publication. Readers should note that, over time, currency and completeness of the information may change. All users are urged to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.