Very few people get excited about going to the dentist, so it should come as no surprise if it’s not your child’s favourite activity. However, oral health and hygiene are important from an early age, and setting your child up with a dentist and oral health routine early will help them have healthy teeth and healthy habits for life. Here are some tips to help conquer your little one’s dislike or fear of the dentist.
Do Your Homework
If your child has cavities, inflamed gums, or other dental issues, it can make for a painful and taxing dental visit. By practising excellent oral hygiene at home, you can make trips to the dentist positive and painless. Make sure your child brushes their teeth at least twice a day, flosses once a day, and avoids sugary foods and drinks as much as possible.
Educate and Explain
By explaining how important and great it is to have a healthy smile, you can get your children excited about their oral health. Speak to your children about oral health and explain why it is so important we take good care of our teeth. It may be helpful, before the dentist appointment, to explain to your child what the hygienist will do once your child is there, including what kinds of sounds, sights, and smells to expect. This will prepare them for the visit and help them understand why it is important that they go to the dentist.
Set an Example
Children learn easily by example. If they see you brushing and flossing regularly as well as going to the dentist, they will understand that it is normal and nothing to be afraid of. Watch even the little things, like talking about how you dislike going to the dentist in front of your children. If you always speak positively about the dentist, chances are they will too!
Speak to Your Dentist
Many dentists specialize in children’s dentistry. They are very experienced in how to keep children calm and happy. Many dentists will give your child a “prize,” like a little toy, after their cleaning or check-up. This creates positive associations with going to the dentist. If your child is more frightened than usual, let your dentist’s office know ahead of time. They will be happy to do all they can to accommodate your child and dispel their fear.
Children are so quick to pick up on their parents’ emotions. As long as you are cheerful and relaxed about dental visits, chances are they will be too, though it may take some time!