Studies show that parents who fear the dentist often have children who fear the dentist too. According to Everyday Health, up to 15 percent of people avoid visiting the dentist due to their crippling dental anxiety. For children, this can lead to a lifetime of dental health problems and poor oral hygiene.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cite cavities as the leading chronic disease among children. While most people don’t enjoy visiting the dentist, dental visits are an important part of a positive health routine. Easing your child’s anxiety and helping him or her become more comfortable going to will make appointments easier on you both.
Here are a five tips that can help: :
- Book their first dental appointment early on.. The sooner a child can become comfortable with a dentist and familiar with procedures, the better. Dentists recommend children experience a first visit before they turn one year old, or as soon as teeth start coming in.
- Find a well qualified pediatric dentist. Dental anxiety oftenstems from a previous negative dental experience. Going to a dentist that specializes in treating children can make the difference.. It only takes one bad experience to discourage a child from ever wanting to visit the dentist again.
- Keep a positive attitude. Even if you dislike dental appointments, it is important that you put on a brave face when talking your childrening to the dentist. We recommend having your child accompany you to your appointments, and watching a parent or older sibling go through the process to help decrease anxiety. Remember, this only works if the patient isn’t anxious. If you’re happy and calm during your visit, it will do wonders in helping your child view dental visits in a positive light.
- Avoid negative words like “hurt” .” Saying “It won’t hurt,” can actually put your child on edge. They’ll start to wonder why the dentist would do something to hurt them, which can generate fear. .
- Keep the details minimal. Describing dental visits to your child beforehand might seem like a good idea, but in reality it will only make them dwell on the upcoming appointment more. Instead, consider acting out a dental visit with your child prior to the appointment. Role play with mom or dad acting as the dentist, then letting your child play a dentist examining you.. Also, wait to tell your child about their appointment until the day before or day of. It will give them less time to build up nerves.
- Teach the importance of good oral hygiene. You can make dental appointments a positive experience by instilling good habits early. Start teaching your child to brush and floss, as soon as they have teeth. Having a beautiful begins with healthy teeth. It also reduces the chance of cavities, which will make dental visits a more positive experience. =
- Be patient and expect your child to feel nervous. Fear of the dentist, to some extent, is completely normal. Be patient with your child and anticipate this fear, but don’t encourage it. If you act like they have something to be afraid of, it is more likely that they will be afraid. Keep in mind, your goal is to assure your child there is nothing to worry about.
Dental anxiety is something that affects children and adults alike. However, it is important that you recognize your role as a parent in easing their fears and helping them develop the best dental health habits possible. Keeping a positive attitude during your child’s dental appointments and making sure they see a qualified pediatric dentist will help shape a positive lifelong attitude. .