Kids Dental Care – Oral Health for Toddlers
When you begin initiating your kids dental care and hygiene training, it’s vitally important to make sure the process is effective as well as gentle for them.
At Westcoast International (WIC), we think it’s far more effective to be proactive rather than reactive when discussing your kids dental care. This is especially relative to your special family member’s long term oral health and well being. Your child’s first visit to the dentist should be a relaxed, pleasant experience, not after they’ve fallen down and hit their face on the side of a pool or at the playground!
The most frequently asked question we hear from parents is “when should I start taking my toddler to the dentist?” The American Pediatric Dentists Association recommends first visits occur when teeth begin appearing at 6 – 8 months and no later than 1 year. Keep in mind your child’s baby or primary teeth were specifically designed to provide and prepare adequate space for the natural growth of their adult or permanent teeth.
Here are 8 tips to make your child’s first dental experience a fun one:
- Prior to the first appointment it’s important you talk with your child about the visit by explaining what a dentist does and keep it very simple so they understand. There are many illustrated children’s books about first visits to the dentist which can be very helpful and may captivate their interest.
- Let your child know it’s a special privilege to visit the dentist and when complete they’ll be a special surprise.
- Explain to them all the fun things they’ll discover at the dentist office, like a moving chair that goes up and down and a water squirt gun. There will also be other interesting dental instruments – equipment and tiny mirrors that will be used during their exam.
- Avoid using slogans like be brave, don’t worry (don’t be scared), or it won’t hurt, remember in a child’s mind these words can induce fear or imply something might be wrong.
- An appointment to the dentist should be portrayed as a fun experience.
- Don’t try to bribe your child to be good, but rather use positive reinforcement and compliments to inspire their continued acceptance and compliance.
- It is natural for some kids, especially young ones to feel awkward, afraid and even withdrawn around strangers, moving chairs, strange odors and many bright lights. Avoid criticism or pressuring them to go against their natural feelings.
- When it’s time for your child’s exam, be positive and make sure you accompany them to the treatment room, please don’t use force if they refuse to cooperate. If that occurs, be flexible and have a chat with the dentist about kids dental care techniques which can enhance your child’s oral health. By avoiding a potentially traumatic experience, your child will leave with a good feeling about the dental environment and can comfortably return another day.
If you prioritize your energies exclusively on your kids first dental visit, by making it all about them, along with your unspoken encouragement- commitment to their long term oral health. Our clinics are fully equipped with toys and other play items and we also show cartoons. It’s almost guaranteed they’ll have a positive connection with their dentist, and they’ll naturally choose to maintain healthy and strong adult teeth independently! In addition, you’ll be supporting the prevention of decay, infections and possible orthodontic issues from going undetected and perhaps causing unnecessary and costly problems or pain in their future.
Important suggestions relating to your kid’s dental care and long term oral health:
- Make sure you establish a patient-dentist relationship by age 1.
- Developing healthy-effective home care habits and monitoring your child’s diet are paramount to your kid’s dental care.
- A dental exam every 6 months will support optimum oral health.
- Receiving fluoride treatment remains an effective option for some kid’s dental care, as per the advice and supervision of your doctor.
- The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7, by then most orthodontic issues are detectable.
Read our Reviews and Testimonials from our Patients for Westcoast International Dental Clinics and our Team of Dentists