As an adult, you’re probably well aware that some of the most logical and brave grownups have an illogical fear of the dentist. As a parent, you may also be aware that these fears start early. That’s why it’s so important to me that you put your child on the path to good dental hygiene as soon as possible. How can you convince your favorite little one that going to the dentist is not only no big deal, but a treat?
The earlier you start the following habits and traditions, the better your child’s relationship with dentistry will be:
- Bring them in as soon as their first tooth erupts. They won’t remember this visit, but it helps you establish good habits as your child grows.
- Bring them to your own appointments. Seeing you reclining in the chair, wearing a bib, and opening wide will normalize the entire process.
- Talk about it. If engaging your child in small talk about dentistry isn’t your idea of bonding, then read books with them. The Berenstain Bears, Peppa the Pig, and Curious George all have books about trips to the dentist!
- Play dentist at home. Let them count your teeth, make teeth out of Play-Doh, practice your silliest smiles … anything to make it fun.
- Model good dental hygiene at home. You can hardly expect them to brush and floss regularly if they don’t see you do the same. Use your evening dental hygiene routine as a reason to spend time together and create memories.
- Give them choices. Allow them to choose their toothbrush and toothpaste so they’re more likely to enjoy using them.
Whether you try one or all of these suggestions, you’re doing your part to ensure that your child feels confident and positive when they visit my office. From their first tooth to adulthood, I’m excited to be part of your family’s health care team.