Is your child used to the dentist or do they dread getting their regular checkups and cleanings?
Whether or not your child is accustomed to the dentist, it can be difficult getting kids to feel good about seeing an oral healthcare professional. However, seeing a dentist in their early years is an instrumental part of helping your kids set up healthy habits for life when it comes to taking care of their teeth and gums. Not to mention those regular visits are going to help prevent cavities and gum disease.
When you want your child to love the dentist, here are five tips to help you get started!
Children should ideally have their first dentist visit between the age of six months and one year, or whenever their first tooth comes in . The earlier you get your child used to the dentist, the better!
You can and should start with their oral care shortly after birth—wiping their gums with a clean cloth after feedings before they have teeth, and brushing and flossing once the teeth come in, to get them used to oral care.
Go to the Dentist Yourself
Practice what you preach when it comes to the dentist! By going to the dentist yourself and placing an emphasis on your oral care, you can show kids how to take care of their teeth by being an example.
However, remember that it’s generally not a good idea to take your child to your own dentist, as the environment and treatment can make them feel intimidated. A child-friendly dentist will seem much less scary!
If your kids really dread going to the dentist, you can offer incentives in exchange for them going and doing their best to maintain a positive attitude while receiving treatment. You can offer healthy treats or have them pick a prize after each dental appointment.
Many pediatric dentists will already offer prizes and incentives for receiving oral care, so you might not have to further incentivize your kids!
Try Attending a Dental Presentation
You can get your children excited about going to the dentist by attending a dental presentation . Call your local pediatric dentist and ask about a day where kids can come in and tour the office, sit in the exam chair, see Mr. Thirsty, and play with stuffed animals that have teeth they can brush.
Even if your dentist doesn’t offer a child-friendly dental presentation, you can certainly suggest they consider doing one or call around to see if another dentist has such an event you and your kids can attend.
This will not only get them more familiar with the dentist, but learn that it’s a fun place and not as scary or boring as they might think.
Have Fun at Home
You can encourage oral care habits at home and motivate kids to get excited about the dentist. Try purchasing stuffed animals where you can brush and floss their teeth and pretend to fill in cavities. Take kids to the store to pick out a fun toothbrush and toothpaste.
Make oral care fun at your house and extend this routine to the dentist—it just might get your kids excited about going for their regular checkups and cleanings!