Your child’s dental care

Looking after your child’s teeth is important. Healthy baby teeth are needed for chewing and proper speech development.

Your child's baby teeth save the space for adult teeth and are important for the proper growth of your child’s face and jaw. Baby teeth need to be looked after and valued.

Your child is entitled to free oral health care until they turn 18. To enrol them with your local Community Oral Health Service, call 0800 TALK TEETH (0800 825 583).

Healthy teeth = a healthy smile. Follow these 5 steps to protect your child’s smile.

  1. Brush teeth twice a day.
  2. Have regular dental check-ups.
  3. Lift the lip every month to check for signs of tooth decay (holes).
  4. Choose healthy snacks.
  5. Drink water or milk.

Dental care is free

You should enrol your child with your local Community Oral Health Service at birth or as soon as possible after that. Your midwife or nurse will be able to help you to enrol your child. The service is free and supports you and your whānau to care for your child’s teeth.

Caring for your child’s teeth

Your child’s teeth are at risk of tooth decay (holes) as soon as their teeth appear – this is usually at around 6 months. Tooth decay is easy to prevent by:

  • brushing your child’s teeth twice a day with regular-strength fluoride toothpaste
  • ensuring that your child has a healthy diet that is low in sugar
  • ensuring that your child has regular dental check-ups from an early age.

Your Well Child Tamariki Ora nurse will regularly check your child’s teeth and talk to you about how to keep them healthy. Click on a link below for more advice on caring for your child’s teeth.

Related website

Your oral health: infants and toddlers – New Zealand Dental Association
Information for parents and caregivers to protect their children’s teeth. Good oral health from an early age will help them to keep their teeth for a lifetime.

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