We all know the importance of regular visits to the dentist but the prospect can be a scary one for toddlers that have never gone before or even for parents that have had their own negative experiences. Here are some tips to help smooth your child’s first trip to the dentist.
Their first appointment should happen by their 1st birthday. It’s not a bad idea to make the first appointment after the first few teeth come through though.
- Schedule for a time when your baby is normally happy and easy going. Avoid scheduling during their normal nap time or when they usually get hungry.
- Let the Dentist know about any sucking habits like pacifiers, thumbs, or bottles. This will help them to properly diagnose any issues they see.
- Examine your baby’s teeth as often as you can. This will help them get used to the feeling of fingers poking around in their mouth.
- Avoid letting your baby fall asleep with a bottle in their mouth. Pooling liquids will promote tooth decay.
Their first Toddler appointment should happen around two years old. By this time all their baby teeth should have come in.
- Use positive language leading up to and when talking about the visit. Focus on the good things, like the prizes at the end of the visit. Don’t say “It won’t hurt.” This dentist in New Hampshire has some great suggestions for positive language.
- Talk to them about exactly what will happen, from the check in process, to the exam, and especially the prize at the end of the visit.
- Let them come with you to your own cleaning so they can see firsthand what’s going to happen and that you’re comfortable.
- Know when to walk away and reschedule.
- Stay with your child to offer comfort and reassurance. Strangers can be scary.
- Practice brushing often so they get used to the feeling.
- Use a pea size amount of toothpaste. This is the perfect amount for adequate fluoride coverage, but nowhere near enough for over-ingestion.
- Use a soft kid sized tooth brush.
- Find a fun, over-sized model to allow the kids to practice brushing teeth they can see. Pinterest is an amazing resource for free ideas.
Tips to avoid dental issues.
- Brush often.
- Avoid sugary and starchy foods that will stick to teeth long after eating and promote decay.
- Rinse with water after meals if they can’t brush.
- Stop sucking habits as early as possible.
- Find ways to make oral hygiene fun with timers and fun brushes.