Did you know that more than 40% of children have one or more dental cavity by the time they reach kindergarten?
It’s important to take charge of your child’s oral hygiene while they’re still young. Not only will this teach them good habits, but it’ll ensure a healthy and happy mouth.
However, this is easier said than done.
When surrounded by whirring instruments, strangers in surgical masks, your child may not know how to act.
It can be a nerve-racking experience for them, so to reduce their anxiety and avoid the kicking, screaming, and tears, here are a few tips you can implement for every dentist visit.
Start regular visits early
Bringing in your tot, starting from a young age, is a great way to introduce them to the world of dental care.
Kids should come in for their first visit at around one year old.
Play their favorite movie while in the waiting room
This should calm them and set the tone while you’re waiting in the living room. Most dentists these days are equipt with tv screens above the chair. This way, they can pick up where they left off, making the transition from your arms to the chair less jarring.
Follow up the visit with a fun reward
You want to avoid sugary rewards like ice cream and candy, as this defeats the point of going in for a teeth cleaning in the first place. Instead, try to reward your child after their appointment with a fun and educational reward. Maybe a movie, a trip to the park, pool, or the local museum.
Let your child dress themselves for their appointment
Yes, the sparkly pink tutu and cowboy boots are 100% allowed this time.
Not only will this give them a sense of control, but they’ll love dressing up in their favorite costume and feel much more at ease. It’s also a great conversation starter between your child and the dentist, creating a positive relationship and paint them as the ‘good guy’ in your kid’s head.
Let them bring a beloved toy
Sometimes all a child needs is to hold their favorite stuffed animal or action figure close to know everything is going to be alright. That way they can hold your hand and their toy in the other. They’ll never feel alone.
Bringing a buddy
Sometimes a child needs their best friend beside them. If that’s the case, make a playdate out of it. Not only will your child have something to look forward to—hanging out with their friend, but they also learn to associate the dentist’s office as a pleasant experience.
Choose a dental clinic for kids
Another way to make the dentist visit a lot more pleasant for your small child is to find an office that caters to kids specifically. The bright colors and toys are sure to calm down even the most nervous child.
Keep their teeth clean to avoid a painful dentist visit
Another way you can be sure they’ll love the regular checkups is to make them less painful. Keep their teeth clean and free of cavities, and it will be a speedier and less worrisome visit every time you come in.
For both of you.
Also, try to teach your child how to take charge of their own oral hygiene. Reward them with fun experiences, or stickers when they go an entire month of consistent brushing.
Even though a dentist visit can be a frightening experience to a small child, it doesn’t have to be. Thankfully, there are certain measures you can take that will help your child grow accustomed and even start to enjoy the experience of getting their teeth checked and cleaned.