Summary

  • Children should have an oral health assessment by two years of age.
  • Talk with your dentist or oral health professional about your child’s risk level and how often you need to visit.
Children should have an oral health check by the time they turn two.

Oral health professionals who may perform oral health checks for children include:
  • dentists
  • oral health therapists
  • dental therapists
  • dental hygienists.
Other professionals who might perform oral health checks for very young children include:
  • maternal and child health nurses
  • general practitioners
  • practice nurses.
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 visit a dental clinic so that they can see what happens.
  • 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 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).
  • Eat a wide variety of nutritious foods and keep healthy snacks easily available.
  • Avoid sugary foods and drinks, and highly processed foods, 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.

Public dental services for children in Victoria


All children 12 years and under are eligible to access the public dental services. They receive priority access, meaning they do not go on a waiting list and will be given the next available appointment. This service is free when parents or carers hold a valid healthcare card or a pensioner concession card. A small fee applies to non-card holders.

Young people aged 13–17 years who are healthcare or pensioner concession card holders, or dependents of concession card holders, receive free emergency and general care at public dental clinics.

Where to get help

  • Your public dental clinic
  • Community dental clinics
- To find your local clinic Tel. 1300 360 054 or search by postcode at Dental Health Services Victoria.
  • The Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne

- General enquiries or to make an appointment Tel. (03) 9341 1000 or 1800 833 039 outside Melbourne metro 8.30 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday.
- Dental emergencies Tel. 1300 360 054 8.30 am to 9.15 pm, Monday to Friday, 9 am to 9.15 pm, weekends and public holidays.

  • Your private dental clinic

- Look in the Yellow Pages under ‘Dentists’.
- Visit the Australian Dental Association website, and use the ‘Find a Dentist’ search tool.

  • Your doctor or practice nurse
  • Maternal and child health nurse

Things to remember

  • All children should have an oral health check by the time they turn two.
  • Talk with your oral health professional about your child’s risk level and how often you should visit.
  • Take some time to prepare for positive dental visits with your child.
References
  • National Oral Health Promotion Clearing House, 2011, ‘Oral health messages for the Australian public. Findings of a national consensus workshop’, Australian Dental Journal, vol. 56, no. 3, pp. 331-335. More information here.
  • Dental health for children 0–6 years – Resources for maternal and child health nurses, Dental Health, Department of Health Victoria, Victorian Government. More information here.

More information

Mouth and teeth

The following content is displayed as Tabs. Once you have activated a link navigate to the end of the list to view its associated content. The activated link is defined as Active Tab

Content Partner

This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: Dental Health Services Victoria

Last updated: April 2015

Page content currently being reviewed.

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.