Green living parents understand the importance of keeping kids healthy, which of course includes good oral health. But how do you keep your child from experiencing the anxiety that can be associated with dental visits?
Fear not! Here are our top tips for keeping the “fear monster” at bay:
- It’s sunny in here. That’s right. For children, their parents are like the weather: if you’re sunny, they’re sunny. So keep your conversations and “vibe” around dental visits positive. According to a recent Spanish study, a father’s feelings about the dentist are particularly impactful, so keep smiling Dads!
- Try a “Starter Visit”. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends the first dental visit before the first birthday, so consider bringing your infant to your routine teeth cleaning. Have the child rest comfortably on you while the hygienist does her or his work, and the place won’t be unfamiliar when it’s the child’s turn.
- Watch your words. As every parent knows, kids are perfect mimics so avoid using words like “shot” or “hurt” when talking about the dentist. Dentists who are good with kids know this too, and use phrases like “Mr. Freezy” for the numbing agent.
- Break them in easy. Parents should be brushing a child’s teeth as soon as the first one pokes through. Making daily teeth brushing a game and getting the little one used to someone poking around in their mouth will make them more at ease in the dental chair.
- Provide security. If your child has a favorite toy or blanket, bring that with you to their dental visits. The comfort of a familiar item is a great counter-balance to the unfamiliar sounds and smells.
- Choose your dentist wisely. It’s important to select a dentist who shares the parent’s values and medical approach. Search on-line networks, like the Eco-Dentistry Association, for dentists that are committed to toxics-free dentistry and who welcome a parent’s questions.
Having your child comfortable with dental visits sets them up for a life-time of good oral health, and that’s enough to make everyone smile!