Jan Dimond, hygienist at More Smiles Dental Practice in Buderim/Mountain Creek explains why preparing your child for their first trip to the dentist should start long before that first appointment.

We all know that children learn by example.

So the best thing that we can do is insure that our children have life-long positive dental habits, by having them ourselves and showing our children our enthusiasm for good teeth. They should watch us come in for regular cleaning and continuing care visits and witness our good daily dental habits of brushing and flossing morning and night.
Being a good role model is important for little people to learn good habits.

Here are some top tips for preparing your child:


Knowledge.

Before your child’s appointment read stories about dental visits and discuss with them how important teeth are as you brush and floss your own teeth.

Build Interest.
Play dentist with your child. Use a small torch to look into your child’s mouth just as the dentist will do. Allow your child to examine your mouth as well. Discuss the dental appointment in a positive way and with positive references. Definitely avoid using words like “hurt”, “won’t hurt”, “pull”, “jab”or “needle” and avoid relaying any dental “horror stories”.
This will help the child in avoiding any pre-conceived ideas/fears of the dentist.

Build a sense of security.
Stay with your child during his or her appointment, but ensure you remain positive. Stay upbeat about the dentist and dental care and your child will follow your lead. However, if you find it hard to disguise your anxiety, staying out in the waiting room would be a better choice as children are very attuned to your feelings and reactions.

Choose optimal appointment times.
Make their dental appointment in the morning, the child is more accepting of unfamiliar environments. They are less likely to be tied and cranky and unco-operative.

Build a sense of expertise.
Teach your child excellent oral health habits, this relates not only to homecare practices but also to regular dental care where 6 monthly check ups are considered routine.

 

Remember – Being a good role model is important for little people to learn good habits…

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