Tooth decay can start very early and cause pain, sleepless nights and days off work and school so starting babies’ healthy dental routines early is key to preventing decay, and it can begin with a little trip to the dentist even before their first teeth have come through.

Depending on how a baby is feeling, the dentist may not always be able to see in their mouth. That’s okay as there are plenty of other benefits to early check-ups.

Families can get advice on keeping gums, teeth and mouths healthy at key stages in a baby’s development such as moving onto solids or moving onto cups and teething. Dentists can give tips on getting the best from tooth brushing, advise on sugar, healthy eating and drinking and also offer treatments to prevent decay. They can also advise when a baby’s first teeth might come through and what to expect when they do.

Not only that, but a little trip to the dentist helps babies and young children get used to the sights, sounds and smells of a dental practice. This is vital in making sure they feel comfortable at the dentist as they grow older.

Seeing an NHS dentist is free for babies as well as for children and young people under 18, pregnant women and mums who have had a baby in the last 12 months.

Families can book a little trip to the dentist at a local practice. Your local dental practice can be found on the NHS website