Dental hygiene is critical for children and adults. It has been estimated that nearly 20% of all kids in the United States never go to a dentist. The problem is that when children’s oral health is ignored, bigger problems can occur. Dental pain is a bigger issue when children are not seen on a regular basis by a specialist in pediatric dental work. Many kids even miss school because of pain in their teeth or mouth. But what if your child is afraid to go to the dentist? What can you do as a parent?

  1. Think before you speak. As the fear of dentists is so common among adults all over the United States, the way they speak about their experience with dentists and dental offices can have a big impact on the way their children view the experience. There are also softer ways you can talk about what happens during pediatric dental work. Some experts recommend talking about how dentists help their mouths healthy and clean. Also, referring to bacteria in the mouth as sugar bugs, can be a more friendly way to talk about dental problems that can occur.
  2. Keep an upbeat approach when you answer their questions. Children have a lot of questions about just everything and going in for pediatric dental work is no different. When you are answering their questions, it helps to keep your answers upbeat and simple.
  3. Try a dress rehearsal. Set up a mock dental office in your home and do a pre-visit practice run before you bring your child in for their pediatric dental work. You can set your child in a chair, get a mirror out to show them their teeth, and do a mock evaluation of their mouth and teeth. When you are looking through their mouth, you can do things such as a count all of their teeth. You may want to avoid making noises that mimic those they will hear in the actual dental office but that is something you can work on depending on their response to the rest of the mock appointment.
  4. Try for positive reinforcement. When you do you a mock appointment or when you are finished with the actual thing, giving a lot of positive reinforcement can do a lot of good. You can also do something special with your child after you leave the pediatric dentist’s office if they behaved well. Go to a fun spot, a playground, or do something else they enjoy. That can link the positive activity with good behavior at the dentist.
  5. Go to an office that specializes in pediatric dental work. There are dental offices where all they do is treat children. There are also family dental clinics where both adults and children can receive dental treatment care. While you can go to either of these, you cannot take your child to the dentist you use who only treats adults. Pediatric dentists use different equipment and tools and also have fun things such as games to make the experience better for everyone.
  6. Start early. Kids can start going to the dentist when they reach the age of two. By starting bringing them to a dentist when they are very young, you will get them used to it so it will be less frightening.

Proper dental care can do a lot to keep a person healthy. This is especially true when it comes to pediatric dental work. These tips will help your child like and not fear, their dentist.

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