Many parents have a hard time convincing their kids to go to the dentist. Some kids are scared of the noises the instruments make. Others will cry the entire visit. Some kids will even run away from the dentist's office. We understand that a trip to the dentist's office can be scary for kids. Here are a few tips that can help your child ease dental anxiety.
Start dental visits while they're young
Children who start their dental visits early are usually less apprehensive than children who don't experience dental care until later in their youth. The dental office should be a welcoming environment for children – it's unfamiliar to them at first, but they quickly realize there's nothing to be afraid of. Sometimes, these children may be excited to go to the dentist after their first visit!
A comfortable, fun atmosphere is a great way to introduce your child to the dental office and the work they'll do there. Starting when children are young is key to helping them feel comfortable with oral care and preventing future problems. Good oral hygiene habits should start as early as possible to ensure strong dental health in the future.
Take a comforting item to the dentist's appointment
For many children, visiting a dentist can be an overwhelming experience. Children deal with dental anxiety differently than adults do. They might cry more, be scared of the unknown, or even have panic attacks due to fear. The best way to help your anxious child get through their visit is by preparing them ahead of time. Explain to them what is going to happen beforehand and what happens during a checkup. Just like reading a story or playing a game, this will ease your child's nerves. Once you arrive at the dental office, you can take a special item to help relax your kids if they are nervous. For example, if your child likes stuffed animals, you can bring their favorite stuffed animal to the appointment. This will give them a sense of familiarity and comfort during the treatment process. You can also bring a comfort item with you to help soothe your child when they receive their shot. Make their first dental visit a positive one so they will be more comfortable with future checkups!
Read stories or play games involving dentist visits
Reading books or playing games involving dentists and dental care can help children become more acquainted with the office before their first visit. This can help them relax during the experience and ease any anxiety they may have. For example, parents can read books about visiting the dentist before their child's appointment and use the book as a discussion piece to address a child's personal concerns. This helps a parent show the child that they are not alone in their fears and that they have the support of their parent.
Children can also play interactive games online or on mobile devices that teach about oral health and the importance of seeing a dentist regularly. These digital apps show kids what the dentist looks like in real life and help familiarize them with the office before they ever step foot inside.
The earlier you take your child to the dentist, the better their chances are at avoiding cavities and other common oral health issues later on in life. Plus, early visits to the dentist help establish a healthy routine early on, so your children become comfortable with going to the dentist as an adult.
Teach kids the importance of great oral health
Children learn by example. So mom and dad have to set a good example when it comes to dental care as well. Take your child for a regular checkup and cleaning every six months, and teach them about the importance of good oral hygiene in between appointments as well.
Brushing and flossing regularly is very important for kids of all ages, not just toddlers. After brushing is finished, show your children how to rinse their mouths with water to help remove any remaining toothpaste from the surfaces of the teeth. Swishing water around the mouth also can help remove additional particles of food and plaque from between the teeth and along the gum line. It's crucial that your kids know the proper way to brush both their front and back teeth and gums and floss behind each tooth to remove all food particles from between each tooth. That process should take at least two minutes per child. Set a timer to make sure that kids are not rushing through brushing their teeth.
Wish to learn more oral care tips? Dillon-Costantino Dental can help you. We are located at 10505 West Pico Blvd, West Los Angeles, CA 90064. Call (310) 475-0617 to schedule your appointment.