Herefordshire Council’s Public Health team is encouraging parents and carers to take their babies to see the dentist early, even before their first teeth come through.

A recent report shows that Herefordshire has a high level of poor oral health in children, with 31% of 5 year olds having at least one decayed, missing or filled tooth.

Tooth decay can start very early causing pain, sleepless nights and days off nursery or school and work for parents, and often it can be prevented with a little trip to the dentist.

Even if they don’t manage to look in a baby’s mouth, dentists can provide valuable advice and tips on how to maintain healthy gums, teeth and mouths throughout key stages in their development. They can also give tips on getting the best from tooth brushing, advice on sugar, healthy eating and drinking and also offer treatments to prevent decay.

Taking babies to the dentist early also helps them to get used to the sights, sounds and smells of a dental practice, which is vital in making sure they are comfortable visiting the dentist as they grow older.

Taking your baby to the dentist whilst they are very young can help to prevent tooth decay in the future

Karen Wright, Director of Public Health at Herefordshire Council said: “We want babies in Herefordshire to have the very best possible start in life in all areas of their health, including their mouths. It’s easy to reduce the risk of tooth decay and start healthy routines early, simply by taking your baby on a little trip to the dentist.

“Babies and children are seen for free at NHS dentists, as well as pregnant women and new mums for a year after birth, so it is really important parents and carers book appointments, even before first teeth start to come through.”

For more information about oral health, including a downloadable leaflet to help look after children’s teeth, and to find a local dental practice visit the Wish website.