Instilling good dental habits early is one of the most important life skills parents can pass on to their children. A healthy smile not only affects a kid’s self-esteem as they grow up, but how the world perceives them. While the stakes to ensure you are laying down a solid foundation for your child’s future are high, there are steps you can take to not only make their visits to the dentist pleasant for everyone, but also keep their mouth healthy for years to come.
Timing is Key
It’s never too early to bring your child to the dentist. Once their first tooth pops through, you can begin making dental appointments for them. While this may seem soon, it’s best to build a relationship with their dentist early. It also gives you the opportunity to mention any concerns you have about their oral health, such as their diet or pacifier use.
Letting your child know what to expect before going to the dentist can make a tremendous difference in curbing any anxiety they’re experiencing. When you help them brush their teeth at night, talk about what will happen when they go to the dentist. Acting out what will take place at their appointment with a stuffed animal can help. Brush the doll’s teeth, pretend to take x-rays, then praise the doll for being calm and courageous.
Focus on the Positives
Don’t mention anything that could potentially go wrong at the dentist. Trying to warn them about things that might hurt or scare them will only make your child more fearful. Rather, keep the conversation light and positive. Remind them that going to the dentist will keep their teeth strong and the dentist is there to help them.
Give Your Child Positive Affirmation
Reinforce good oral health behaviour by praising your little one every time they brush their teeth or let you help them floss. Tell them that you are proud of them for working hard to keep their smile healthy. You can also remind them that the dentist will see how well they’ve been looking after their mouth and certainly be impressed at their next checkup.
Set a Good Example
Practice what you preach by letting your child watch you attend to your own smile. Let them know that you’re doing it to keep your mouth healthy. When you have your own dental appointments, let them know how friendly the dental staff was. If you don’t like going to the dentist, don’t let your child sense your anxiety.
Making sure that your child’s smile stays healthy can seem like an overwhelming responsibility, but a few small steps can make a big difference. By establishing good dental habits early and giving them the support they need, your child will be well on their way to having healthy teeth that will last a lifetime.
For all of your pediatric dental and orthodontic needs, Kids Dental Group is here to help. Contact us today to make your pediatric dental or orthodontist appointment at one of our convenient locations in Markham, Stouffville, or Richmond Hill. We can’t wait to see your child’s beautiful smile this holiday season!