We grant you that making regular visits to the dentist probably does not rank right up there with Disney vacations or tickets to your kids’ top sporting events on their list of all-time favorites. However, it definitely makes sense to bring some pizzazz to your family’s oral health-care routine. Doing so is one of the best ways to lay the foundation for a lifetime of good habits.
Visits to the dentist should be as familiar to your little ones as is going to their pediatrician. Their first encounter with the dentist should be no more than six months after the appearance of their first tooth. After that, you should be bringing them twice per year. Approach these visits calmly without letting any of your own reservations about the dentist creep into the conversation. Chances are, dentistry has come a long way since you were a child.
Make The Equipment Kid-Friendly
Sure, taking care of your kids’ choppers is bound to require standard equipment that includes a toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss. However, you can make things a lot more exciting by allowing your child to choose the style of toothbrush that matches their preferences. Whether they like princesses or cartoon characters, there is sure to be one that pleases them. Some battery-operated models feature timers and even play tunes that help kids make it through the recommended two minutes of brushing time. To make it extra fun and interesting, consider joining a toothbrush subscription program. Toothpastes come in a variety of kid-friendly flavors as well, and even mint-flavored dental floss is available.
Whether you are two or 92, it’s a fact that you will tend to be more motivated and excited about doing something if you receive a reward. Make that aspect of human nature work for you as you instill good oral health habits in everyone in your family. One idea is to set up a “Dental Excellence” chart. When kids brush and floss each morning and evening, give them stars to be added to the chart. After a pre-arranged period of time, perhaps a week, reward them with a small toy or a privilege if you are pleased with their performance.
Find a Dentist They Like
Did you know that there is now a specialty in dentistry that focuses exclusively on the needs of children? Pediatric dentists undergo years of additional training in order to understand the unique behaviors and requirements of kids in order to ensure that their experience is as comfortable and positive as possible. Even today’s family dentists are far more prepared to make your children’s time in the chair a good experience. Don’t be surprised if your kids leave the office with smiles on their faces and prizes clutched in their hands.
If you’re really lucky, you might even get this question, “When do we get to go to the dentist again?” If you do, it’s a sure sign that you have helped to ingrain good oral health habits into even the youngest members of your family.