ebruary is National Children’s Dental Month. Each year, the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. Developing good habits at an early age helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums, and it all starts with a trip to the dentist.
Let’s face it, no kids like to go to the dentist. Heck, even many adults secretly want to throw temper tantrums instead of going to the dentist, but good oral health is necessary. There are ways, though, to helping children brave their nerves and feel a bit more relaxed about seeing the dentist.
1. Attitude is everything
If mom and dad are nervous to go to the dentist, little ones are going to see this and pick up on it. It is important to not make this visit a dreaded chore. When your annual dentist check-up looms, try not to talk about it as a bad thing. Your kids will pick up on it, and in turn, will also dread the dentist.
2. Don’t Use Bribes
Avoid using bribery to get your child to agree to going to the dentist. If you say something like “If you don’t cry, I’ll give you a cookie” your child may think that there is a reason why a dentist makes people cry. Instead of bribing your child, talk in an upbeat manner about how the friendly dentist is going to check your child’s smile and about how a healthy smile is a great and fun thing to have.
3. Prepare for Fussing as It’s Normal
It is common for young children to whine and fuss about doing anything they’re not crazy about. Don’t make too much of it if your child is fussy, whiney or wiggly. Stay calm and remember that pediatric dentists are used to working with young children and have seen their share of tantrums.
4. Let your child pick a special tooth brush
Take your child to the store and have them pick out their own tooth brush just for them. There are several to choose from that have their favorite characters on them. Then you can tell them you are taking them to a special person to show them the best way to use their new toothbrush. They will be excited to use the brush they pick out and this will help them want to brush their teeth.
5. Pick the right dentist
It is important to find a dentist you are comfortable with. Pediatric dentists are great because their staff and offices are geared toward children. It is very important to find a dentist that you relate with and works well for your whole family. Baton Rouge is filled with great pediatric dentists, many of whom attend Woman’s bi-annual Baby Grant event.