Good dental habits are important to establish in children early. This can be difficult, because many children today fear going to the dentist. Dental anxiety is so common among children that it is being labeled a major public health concern. As a concerned parent, you might feel uncertain how to handle your own child’s anxiety. It is obviously unpleasant to see your child worrying about it. Your kid needs to get used to going to the dentist though. If they don’t, they are likely to stop going as an adult and their oral hygiene will suffer accordingly. Fear not, there are effective ways to manage the anxiety and encourage a lifelong habit of good oral hygiene. Here are tips and tricks how to manage your kid’s anxiety for the dentist.
Be Upfront And Honest
Convince your child to visit the dentist through honesty. Let the child know well ahead of time that they are going to the dentist. Don’t lie to them about where they are going or say it is just an annual health check. Be candid about they should expect. If they have questions answer them honestly and to the point or encourage them to ask the dentist. Lying to your child will always come with a consequence. Don’t make the dentist seem worse by indicating you have to lie about it. Your child will remember that, and it will color how they view the experience. Like most things in a child’s life, honesty is the best policy.
Focus On Oral Hygiene
When discussing the dentist with your child, make sure to focus on why they must go. This is important to establish good oral hygiene for your child. Encourage them to view their healthy teeth as the reward for the dentists. If your child looks at it this way, they are more likely to carry on going to the dentist as an adult. It will make your child think of the dentist as a needed service, rather than a resented obligation. The same can be done for brushing teeth and flossing. It’s important with young children to emphasize cause and effect. If they understand why dentist visits are important, they’ll start to resist the anxiety.
Choose A Child-Friendly Dentist
Taking your child to a dentist who works regularly with children can also help their anxiety. A children’s dentist already has experience dealing with anxious children and has worked out procedures to handle them. They will know how to use distraction to keep children calm during the most uncomfortable parts of the procedure. A dentist in Atascadero, Dr. Farr explains, “I know many people have anxiety in coming to the dentist, and it’s my great pleasure to help ease their anxiety.” These sorts of things will mean everything to your child, even if the medical outcome is the same.
Reinforce A Positive Attitude
When talking about the dentist with your child, focus on the positive. This doesn’t just mean the positive of the child’s experience. Make sure you avoid referring to your own dental experiences as painful or unpleasant. A major reason many children have anxiety over the dentist is that many adults also have this anxiety. They see the adult around them express fear and anger about the dentist and draw their own conclusions. Your child can pick up on that sort of thing, even if your trying to hide it. Make sure you give them the impression you have no anxiety over the dentist, and they will soon learn to copy you.
To avoid anxiety in the first place, start taking your child to see the dentist early. You should bring your child in no later than their first birthday. If you start routine visits that early, your child will be familiar with the dentist’s office before they start developing lasting memories. This may prevent dental anxiety all together. Most of this anxiety is the product of the unknown. If your child has always known what’s in store and the dentist’s office, they won’t get the anxiety in the first place. Starting this early is also good for oral hygiene and will put your child on a path to lifelong healthy teeth.
Your child’s anxiety about the dentist is common and quite easy to manage. Make sure you always tell them the truth about their visits to the dentist and what will happen. Present the dentist’s office as a part of good oral hygiene and important for white teeth. Make sure the dentist you take your child to is good with children. Reinforce a positive outlook on the dentist, in your child and yourself. Start taking your kid to the dentist early. These tricks will ensure your child grows up knowing that dentist appointments are an important part of their lives.