Dentists say that to keep teeth healthy, regular checkups are necessary from two years of age. While most dental checks are painless, many children are scared of the dentist.
Often, dental anxiety is passed on from parents to children – simply by how the dentist is talked about. Many moms and dads don’t realize it, but kids sense feelings, like fear, and are affected by them. In the US, around 75 percent of people suffer from dental anxiety. This fear can lead to avoidance of checkups, and because of this, oral health problems.
Seeing the dentist might be a little daunting for children, but it doesn’t have to be. There are lots of simple things that parents can do to make checkups for kids, less scary.
Pick the perfect dentist
The most important thing that parents can do when it comes to making dental checkups easier for kids is choose the right dentist. Adult dental offices can be scary places for children. The bright lights, strange smells, and odd noises can make a checkup even more daunting.
That’s why, dentists suggest that parents pick a child-friendly dental office for their kids. This doesn’t need to be a facility that only treats children, but somewhere that specializes in children’s dentistry. Often, these types of places, have special waiting areas for kids, with music, toys, and games. Distractions like this make dental checks a little less scary for children.
As mentioned above, children have a tendency of picking up on things. Many parents who are scared of the dentist, use language that conveys this to their children.
Saying things like, ‘I hate the dentist’ and ‘I get so nervous before a checkup,’ gives children the idea that there is something to worry about. To ensure that kids aren’t affected by what is said, parents should aim to be positive about a trip to the dentist.
Don’t talk about dental fear
Many parents make the mistake of sharing how they feel about the dentist with their child as a way of trying to comfort them. While this might seem like a good idea, it’s really not. If a child knows that their parents are scared of something, they will think that there is reason to be frightened.
Kids look to their parents for strength and support. Telling a child that mom or dad shares their dental fear is like telling them that their parents also believe in The Boogey Man.
Explain why dental checkups are important
Many children don’t understand why they have to see the dentist, so explaining why dental checks are important is a good idea. All parents should say is that to keep teeth happy and healthy, teeth need to be checked by the dentist. Studies have shown that kids are happier to go for checkups if they understand why they have to have them.
Dental checkups can be scary, especially for children. However, to make seeing a dentist a little less daunting for kids, there are plenty of things parents can do. Moms and dads should choose a child-friendly dentist. Be positive about checkups and do everything that they can to make a trip to the dentist more comfortable.