When heading to your kids’ dentist appointment, do you dread the process? Are you worried about the fit your child will have once he or she knows where you are headed? Don’t be. As a parent, you play a big role in your children’s perception of dental visits. In short, you can create a more positive experience for not only you but your child as well with a few simple steps.
1. Start dental care early.
Your child should start seeing the dentist as early as their first tooth, but no later than their first birthday. The earlier you introduce your child to the process of visiting the dentist, and making it a part of their regular routine, the better. As a result the child begins to get used to the process and knows it is nothing to fear.
2. Be your child’s role model.
Don’t speak negatively about going to the dentist. Show your child that the process is a good thing with ample health benefits.
3. Decide if it should be a big deal.
For young children, reading a few books about going to the dentist, talking about it and making it a big deal is an excellent way to create positivity around this experience. Or if your child isn’t likely to benefit from that, make it “not a big deal” but a routine process.
4. Teach your child the importance of dental care.
Good oral hygiene starts at home with brushing and flossing. At the same time, discuss the benefits of going to the dentist with your child. The dentist will check your child’s teeth, clean them and make sure they are in tip-top shape! Be sure your child understands all of these benefits.
5. Do it together.
Don’t expect your children, even those in middle school, to be able and willing to go on their own into the dental office. Be supportive. Keep conversations light and fun. When your child is around be sure to interact with the dentist, so that the dentist becomes more of a friend than a doctor.
All of these steps can help to improve your child’s perception of going to the dentist. By establishing a strong connection to going to the dentist at a young age, you can help steer your child on the right path to good oral health. Be sure to act as a role model for your child’s opinions and perception of dental care.