Developing and maintaining good oral hygiene habits in your children plays a significant role in helping them lead a healthy life now and later as well. Children often go to the doctor since they are born. As time passes gradually, their fear of getting a checkup diminishes. However, as they get old enough for their first visit to the dentist, they might be uncertain and afraid. Their feeling for their first visit to the dentist also largely depends on the oral hygiene habits you have developed and practiced at home.
If you are having problems taking your child for their first visit to the dentist, you can start preparing them by making them understand what they should expect and why is it so important to visit a dentist.
Follow these steps to prepare your child for their first visit:
Step #1- Keep Their Teeth Clean
A large number of dentists recommend taking your child to the dentist on their first birthday or as soon as their first tooth starts to grow. Before you take them to the dentist, make sure their mouth is clean. Get a bright colored baby toothbrush or use your finger with a tiny spot of infant-friendly toothpaste to clear any teeth growing out. Also use a washcloth to clear out the gums. Taking them to the dentist this early will gradually help them adjust to the dentist and they will understand how important it is to go for regular dental checkups.
Step#2- Play With Them
Play ‘dentist’ with your child. Take turns and pretend to be a dentist and a patient. If your child is fond of dolls or action figures, pretend to take them to the dentist. Try using props as well like toothbrushes, flosses, and little cups.
Talk and share as much knowledge about teeth as you can, this will help your child understand the importance of keeping teeth healthy. Promote the habit of looking in to the mirror at your teeth and ask them to do the same so that they appreciate the look of their teeth.
Step#4- Be An Example
Whenever you are brushing or flossing, call your children in to the bathroom. Open your mouth wide and let them touch your teeth, and count them. Young children are excellent learners, so whatever you do, you can expect them to pick that up almost immediately.
Ask your child about things that scare him/her about the dentist and assure them that you will be right there the entire time. Let them take their favorite toy or snack with them, also consider rewarding them with what they love the most after every appointment.
Step#6- Introduce Your Child Before Getting An Appointment
Many dentists accommodate their young patients. Before you set up an appointment for your child, take them for a visit to the clinic. Hold hands and let them check out the waiting room and areas of the clinic. Also introduce them to the dentist so the next time you come for a checkup, they will be familiar beforehand and less hesitant.
Remember that good oral hygiene always begins at home; develop habits in your children to brush daily so that they start realizing the importance of a healthy set of teeth from the beginning.