When should parents start cleaning children's teeth?

Start cleaning your infant's teeth as soon as they appear. Infants will start to get front teeth around six or seven months of age, and will generally have all 20 baby teeth by the age of two and a half to three years. The recommended age to for the first dental check up is one year of age. This guideline is supported and advocated by the Australasian Academy of Paediatric Dentistry for New Zealand and Australia. You can enrol your infant with the School Dental Service at age one, or visit a private dentist. This gives the dentist an opportunity to check the teeth for any problems, show you how to clean your baby's teeth and give you information on how to reduce the chance of decay in these teeth. Even at one year old, some children may have early signs of 'bottle caries' and may need topical fluoride applications or fillings. At this age treatment is done under general anaesthesia (similar to the way grommets are placed in the ears).

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