Visiting the dentist can be scary for young children. Ease your child’s fear with these tips:
- The earlier your child visits the dentist, the better. Dr. Baker recommends bringing your child in for his/her first visit around age 3.
- Prepare your child for his/her first visit but don’t give too much information that will encourage questions. Don’t mention fillings or any other treatments, which will cause anxiety.
- Avoid using words like “shot, hurt or pain” when talking about the dentist. Instead use positive words like “clean, strong and healthy.”
- Before your child’s first visit, play dentist with him/her. You be the dentist and have your child be the patient. Count your child’s teeth and brush them with a toothbrush.
- Don’t bribe your child with the promise of a sugary treat after a dentist visit, as it sends the wrong message. Instead, praise your child for good behavior.
- Teach your child the importance of dental health, telling him/her that visiting the dentist is a necessity for maintaining a healthy smile. Set a good example by visiting the dentist regularly yourself.
You know the guidelines: Your kids should brush teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste for two minutes to help prevent tooth decay, cavities and promote oral health. But how often do your kids actually brush for the full two minutes? To kids, two minutes can feel like an eternity! Here are some ways to make brushing fun and easy for parents and kids:
- Brush with your child–Stand side-by-side in front of the bathroom mirror and brush together. Have fun. Let your child mimic your brushing technique.
- Set a timer–Electronic timers are readily available, but if you can find a small two minute hourglass timer, even better.
- Cute toothbrushes–Great-looking children’s brushes are in stores everywhere. Choose one that’s small enough for your child to hold comfortably, with a small, rounded head and very soft, polished bristles. Every few months you should replace it—particularly for preschoolers who tend to chew while they brush.
- Tasty toothpaste–Use toothpaste made for kids … it’s a safe and non-abrasive version, in mild flavors that kids love.
- Say ahhhhh!–Your child can’t say “ahhh” with his or her mouth closed. As you brush, suggest varying the pitch, tone, and rhythm of the “ahhh” to keep things interesting.
- Bring a friend–At bedtime, invite your child’s favorite stuffed animal into the bathroom to watch the brushing.
- Make a sticker poster–Hang a piece of bright construction paper on the bathroom wall. Each time your child has a thorough brushing, he or she can choose a sticker or star and put it on the poster.
Sources: Orajel and www.sheknows.com