Tips for Managing Dental Anxiety in Kids

Dental anxiety in children is common. Many children feel nervous or scared about visiting the dentist. If your child is scared, be sure to tell your dentist. Your dentist will make every effort to make your child feel comfortable and safe.

Tips for Managing Dental AnxietyIn Children

Start early

Children should start going to the dentist at a young age. These first teeth help children chew and talk, so it's important to take care of them right away. Starting them young will help keep their teeth healthy as they grow older.

Once your child is old enough, speak with your dentist about the best ways to prepare your child for their first visit. They might recommend reading books or even playing games that involve dentists and trips to the dentist's office. This will help familiarize your child with the dentist's office and prepare them for the real thing.

Starting a child's dental visit early in life can help develop a trusting relationship with their dentist that can help them stay relaxed during their appointments. Consistent visits can also help identify potential problems before they become serious and lessen the need for invasive treatments in the future. Routine cleanings and exams can also help prevent cavities and other oral health issues from affecting the child's permanent teeth.

Take a comforting item to the dentist's appointment

We suggest bringing your child's favorite toy, book, or blanket with them to their appointment. That way, they'll have something familiar to hold on to when things get scary for them in our dental office. You can also bring something else that lets them know that you are proud of them for coming to the dentist for their checkup. This will help them stay brave throughout the visit and help them look forward to their next one.

Read stories or play games involving dentist visits

Children may be nervous about their first dentist visit, and going for a routine checkup can be difficult. One way you can help your child prepare for their visit is to read stories about dentist visits or to play games that incorporate a dentist theme. Many children's books deal with the topic of visiting the doctor for the first time, and familiarizing children with the concept before they have the experience itself can help to ease any latent anxiety.

One great way to find these stories is through your local library or bookstore. Browse around until you find something that strikes the right tone for you, and introduce the pictures and vocabulary to your little ones to prepare them for what's to come. Another fun way to introduce your children to a dental office environment is to let them play doctor at home. Let them pretend to be the patient while you play the role of the dentist and try to diagnose a problem and correct it. This can help them feel more comfortable about going to an actual dentist because they will know what to expect from the experience.

Lead by example

It's never too early for kids to start their dental care journey. When they see parents practice good oral health habits every day, they are more likely to follow suit. Parents should pay close attention to the way they care for their mouths and teeth to ensure their kids are learning the right practices.

For example, brushing should start as soon as your child's first tooth erupts. Dentists recommend starting to brush your baby's gums using a soft-bristled toothbrush and water after feedings. Once your toddler is around 2 years old, you can begin using toothpaste with fluoride. Use a small amount of paste (about the size of a grain of rice) on the toothbrush when teaching your child how to brush. Brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day should be the goal for everyone in your family. Flossing is an important part of your oral hygiene regimen, too. It's important to teach your kids proper flossing techniques early on, so they continue this habit into adulthood. Try not to let your children go to bed without brushing their teeth. This can help prevent bacteria from forming overnight.

In addition to practicing great oral care at home and avoiding sugary foods and drinks, seeing your dentist every six months is necessary for maintaining a healthy mouth. Contact our dentist to schedule a child's first visit.

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