Do you love going to the dentist? If you’re like most adults, then your answer probably isn’t an overwhelming, “Yes!” But, dental care has come a long way. Most parents will agree that they want their kids to look forward to going to the dentist. Finding the right family dentist is key to getting your kids on track for a lifetime of healthy smiles. Introducing these helpful dental tips for parents is easy.
Prepping for the First Pediatric Dentist Appointment
- Avoid over preparation. The more you try and explain what to expect, you’ll be put on the defensive. Your child will have questions and you’ll be backpedaling. Your over explaining may be unintentional, but it will transfer your nervousness onto your little one. So, treat going to the dentist as a normal, everyday occurrence and your child won’t view it any other way. This is one of the easiest and time-tested dental tips for parents.
- Have fun! This may come as a shock, but we do like to have fun. Many family practices love seeing children. We will be welcoming and will go out of our way to make your child feel comfortable. With kiddos, we take a go with the flow approach, picking up cues from your child along the way. A first dentist visit could look like a quick tour of the office and exam area, an exciting chair ride or simply counting teeth. At the end, it will be time to select a prize for a job well done. The more positive dental experiences that take place while your child is young, goes a long way in how they think about going to the dentist as they get older.
- Words and tone matter. Try to avoid any hint of pain, anxiety or mention of the word cavity. Think along the lines of telling them that we are on the hunt for sugar bugs.
- Bring them along. Have your son or daughter come along to your next scheduled check-up. This will enable them to see firsthand what it’s going to be like. Logistically, this may work better for children that are toddler-aged or older.
- Role play is the best play. A simple game of dentist, using a small mirror and a toothbrush, will do wonders. Have your child relax and lay down on the couch. Take a look at their teeth using the mirror, count and brush them. Then, it’s your turn! Be prepared that this could go on for awhile. We don’t have to tell you how much youngsters love pretending.
Dental Tips for Parents to Improve Hygiene Habits at Home
Start implementing these helpful dental tips for parents right away.
- Start them young. As soon as that first pearly white makes a debut, use a damp wash cloth to keep it clean. After several teeth have erupted, make the switch to a soft bristled toothbrush. This helps familiarize your child and begins to establish brushing as part of the daily routine. No toothpaste is required. Just a wet brush will do the trick, until your youngster is ready for toothpaste.
- Lead by example. As they get a little older, show your child how you brush your teeth and explain what you are doing.
- Use a prompt. When your child can hold a toothbrush (four to five years old) have them sing a song or practice the alphabet while brushing.
- Don’t forget to floss. At about two to three years old, your child should have their molars. Floss their teeth for them, until they are old enough. Even if there are large spaces between their teeth, it still introduces the concept. It won’t be until first or second grade that they can manage it on their own.
- Visuals are good reminders. Print out this helpful graphic for school-aged children. It explains the basics of healthy brushing basics.
Dr. Mike Mavrostomos is passionate about providing top-quality, comprehensive dental care. He is located in Bedminster, NJ whose continual pursuit of education and state-of-the-art dentistry has led to his being recognized as one of New Jersey’s Top Dentists by the New Jersey Top-Docs committee.