You might not remember your first trip to the dentist, but visiting a dentist
for the first time can be scary for kids. If your child expresses anxiety
or unease toward the dentist, these techniques can help them overcome
their fear and develop positive oral hygiene habits.
Teach by example. Show your kids that brushing and flossing are fun. Every morning and evening,
brush your teeth with your child so he / she perceives it as a positive
experience. This will not only show your child dental health isn’t
scary, but help him / her develop a routine to facilitate healthy teeth and gums.
Make it Fun. Bribery isn’t always the best policy, but it can help your kids overcome
any animosity they feel about dental health. If your child doesn’t
enjoy brushing his / her teeth, try an electric toothbrush. Technology
is interesting and fun, and many electric toothbrushes for kids come in
exciting patterns and colors.
Use a plaque-identifying product. At the dentist, you may remember using a product that revealed build-up
plaque on your teeth. These products aren’t available to dentists
exclusively; you can buy them for at-home use as well. Most of these products
are in the form of chewable tablets or a rinse.
Putting Your Child at Ease Before the Dentist
There are many ways to help your child feel less anxious, or even excited,
about visiting the dentist. If you’re planning a trip to the dentist,
consider a “pretend” dentist trip before the real one. You
can show your child what to expect by demonstrating how the dentist might
use a mirror to look at his / her teeth or by letting your child pretend
to brush a stuffed animal’s teeth.
Setting a good example is one of the best was to teach your kids about
good dental habits and to reduce stress related to office visits. Some
parents try to relate to their children’s fear of the dentist, but
this is a bad idea. Children learn by example, and they will notice any
signs of distress from you. Instead of relating to their fear, encourage
them to look forward to their next visit.