If you have little ones at home, you must understand the importance of teaching them how to have good oral health. This includes having a great relationship with a dentist and starts with that very first trip to the dental clinic. For kids, this new experience can be scary. This is why parents and caregivers should know what they can do to help alleviate the fears of children; here are some ways how:
#01. Be a Great Role Model
Children are like little sponges who soak up every bit of emotion and information from adults around them. It is important that you maintain a good role model of dental health for your kids long before they even have their first dental appointment. Make sure that you demonstrate good dental habits in front of them, and show them how to properly care for their teeth. A child who knows that he or she has done a good job taking care of his or her teeth is less likely to feel anxious about going to the dentist.
#02. Start Them Young
There is no such thing as starting them too early in terms of good dental care. You should also talk to them about what they can expect in their first dental appointment. Help your kids understand that dentists only want to help them keep their teeth healthy. You should avoid telling your kids about “scary dental procedures”. Stay away from words such as “pain” or “drill” as those will only fuel their anxiety. Focus, instead, on all the helpful things that a dentist does. You should also encourage them to ask questions if they have any, and be sure to be honest with them.
#03. Have a Practice Visit
Children, just like adults, can be afraid of the unknown. You can try playing dentist to help them understand better what will happen once they visit the dentist. Doing this can help them be more at ease once they are actually there. Try brushing your child’s teeth the same way the dentist will, and just fully immerse yourself in the role play. Kids learn through play, so roleplaying is a great way to teach your kids about dental health.
#04. Use Visuals with Other Kids Having Positive Dental Experiences
Younger kids might enjoy the treat of having a book about the dentist read to them, and older ones will more likely benefit from watching more realistic videos that show other kids being in an actual dental office. Both books and videos are great visual tools for helping our kids visualize what to expect.
#05. Offer Your Kids Comfort
Be sure to NEVER dismiss your kids’ fear or make them feel, in any way, that they need to ‘toughen up’. Help ease their worries, and offer comfort whenever they show fear.
These five simple tips can make a huge difference in how your kid feels about their first trip to the dentist. Start early so you can both look forward to a great dental experience!