How to Make the Dentist Less Scary for Your Children

Do you have a kid that simply refuses to go to the dentist? Is each trip a nightmare, with your kid kicking and screaming the entire time? Or maybe you have a young child, and you’re worried about this happening when they get older, based on your own experiences or other children. If so, you’re not alone.

Going to the dentist is scary for a lot of children and as a result, they fight against it. However, going to the dentist regularly is an important part of oral health, so it’s important that you make the experience less scary if you can.



The Importance of Good Oral Health

Good oral habits are important to start from a young age. Many health problems can arise if you don’t take care of your teeth, including cavities, gum disease, and more. And while brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing are great places to start, you really should be visiting the dentist at least once or twice a year.

With that in mind, here are a few ways you can make the dentist a little less scary, and hopefully raise your children with a lifelong habit of visiting the dentist regularly.


Start Them Young

First, it’s important to take your kid to the dentist as early as you can. This way, they grow up knowing that dentists appointments are a part of life, and that they are nothing to be afraid of. If you wait too long to bring your kid to the dentist, they may have already established some sort of fear over it. Kids learn many of their lifelong fears when they are young, and you don’t want the dentist to be one of them.

A great option if you have more than one child is the bring the younger one when the older one has an appointment. That way the younger child can spend time in the dentists office, play with some of the toys on the floor, and see from their older sibling that there is nothing to be afraid of. Just make sure your older child doesn’t already have a fear of the dentist before you bring the younger sibling, or this might rub off on them!


Make it a Fun Day

Next, try surrounding the dentist with other fun activities. For instance, maybe you could go out for breakfast before the appointment, then spend the afternoon at the park afterward. If you do this each time you schedule an dentist appointment, your child will start to associate fun days with going to the dentist. And while these outings might not make the actual appointment any more enjoyable, they will at least be in a good mood when they go, helping to lessen the fear.

If you go this route, make sure you are not presenting the fun activities as a sort of bribe. For example, you don’t want to say, “If you go to the dentist, I’ll take you to see a movie after.” This implies that the dentist is something bad for which they deserve a reward for going to. Instead, simply make it like the dentist is just another activity among a fun day of them.


Don’t Show Fear Yourself

Many children learn their fear of the dentist from their parents. Even if you don’t think you are showing fear, or not telling your kids about it, they can often pick up on these things. If you are afraid of the dentist, don’t bring your kids with you to your appointment. They will sense your apprehension and start to see the dentist as a place to be feared.


Take Them to a Child-Friendly Dentist

Finally, make sure you’re bringing your kids to the right dentist. Child-friendly dental places will have things like toys in the lobby, lollipops after an appointment, and dentists who know how to handle kids. They’ll also know the best way to care for children’s teeth.

For instance, they may recommend fluoride treatments for your child. According to 44 West Dental Professionals, fluoride treatments are “Offered annually to prevent decay and strengthen enamel in children. Fluoride supplements may also be prescribed for children who drink well water that does not contain fluoride.”

Take some time to research the dental practices in your area, then find one that is perfect for your kids.


Removing Fear is Essential for Lifelong Dental Hygiene

If you grow up afraid of the dentist, you are less likely to go when you’re older. By working to remove the fear from your child now, you can make going to the dentist a lifelong habit, and help to keep them healthy for years to come.

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