It is not uncommon for children to have toothaches and many times, it is stressful for both the child and the parents to deal with. Taking children to the dentist can be stressful as parents prepare themselves for their tears and tantrums but it does not have to be like that!
There are ways to make dental appointments less scary!
The foundation for a less daunting dental experience has to be laid at young age for children .As parents, we are used to helping our kids to overcome their fears and phobias but the main problem parents find with dental is how to help a child with their fear if you find it hard to conquer it yourself.
If this problem is not dealt in a timely manner, it can be difficult for a child in the long term to overcome this fear.
An early foundation of good oral health
- To lay a good foundation for kids, we need to incorporate oral health learning into their daily routine. It can be more educational and fun than lecture.
- While you are helping them to brush their teeth before school, talk about why doing so is important.
- Rather than making it a one way conversation, encourage questions from kids. You can also ask your child questions about teeth which make them think about their teeth and their importance.
- Ask them questions about brushing and why teeth need cleaning.
- Along with this, it is good to take your kids to the dentist at an early age. It is recommended to take kids as early as two years of age.
It is a good idea to use some of the following tips to take your kid on the road of healthy teeth.
Tips for your child’s oral health
- You can organise a fun tour of the dental surgery with your local dentist. Most dentists will be happy to do so. Also, there may be a time where your child’s preschool arranges a dentist to visit their preschool so kids can be shown how to look after their teeth.
- It will be good idea to start visiting the dentist at an early age to get them familiar with what is involved and familiarity of surroundings.
- Be a role model for your kids. Always talk positively about your dentist visits
- It’s great to show some videos to your kids at home so they can get familiar with a dental office. You can also consider pretend play and role play about the dental visit, which could be helpful.
- Try and relax your child before their appointment as it is sometimes a parents own fear of the dentist, can tempt you to provide too much emotional comfort. In doing this, they can sometimes make promises and introduce words like pain and hurt while the child may still be thinking about it, which could be harmful for the child.
- Mostly as parents, we discourage our kids to take blankets and toys as we go out of the home but in a situation when a child is stressed and anxious about an unknown territory of the dental office, these items can be comforting. It can soothe kids if they have something familiar. In saying that, these items can also be a problem for kids to have something which can be too distracting for them to open their mouth.
- Give kids some control. Rather than ordering kids around in the dental surgery, make a plan with your kids as what to expect when his/her name is called. Let them lead the way and let them talk to the dentist if they are feeling confident.
- You can give control to your child by deciding a safety sign before their appointment. Your child then can let you know so that you can ask the dentist to briefly step away, which can give them time to control their breathing and relax and cuddle you before we re-commence the dental visit
- Most important is that you should be composed and relaxed. Children can pick up any negative vibes from you and it can make things worse.
- If all of the above is not helpful, then you can take your child to a dental specialist as well.