Oral hygiene and a good understanding of the need to go to the dentist for checkups are really important from a very young age. The sooner kids understand that going to the dentist is important, the better. And the best way to do it, is to treat it as routine.
They have to see it as something trivial, so it helps when parents don’t make a great deal out of it. It’s best to prepare them for dentist trips with positive examples.
But, of course, if going to the dentist can be stressful even for some adults, it’s perfectly normal that children don’t like the idea!
One of the things you can do to make your kid’s visit to the dentist less stressful is to actually go into the room with them, and let them take their favourite toy or blanket. This provides them with comfort and can actually take a lot of the stress from going into the chair.
You can also play “dentist” with your kids. You can take a toothbrush and play with them, gently demonstrating what the doctor might do with them.
Never tell them that it’s all going to be fine, or tell them your own scary experiences. This might give them the wrong expectations and ultimately make them lose their trust on you and the doctor. Instead of telling them what might happen, say something nice. You can say that the doctor is going to search his mouth for little bugs, for example.
After going to the doctor, take them somewhere nice! This works as a positive reinforcement, and the next time you have an appointment they’ll connect the doctor to a positive experience!
And always remember: good oral hygiene habits start at home. Start brushing their teeth early on, and make brushing time a fun time!
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