One of the best ways to ensure your child develops good oral hygiene habits is to establish a good dental home early. This first appointment allows you and your child to begin forming a long-lasting relationship with the children's dentist of your choosing. But how do you prepare your child for this visit? Here are a few suggestions.
Start Oral Hygiene Routines Early
Your child's first dental appointment should occur around their first birthday or approximately six months after their first tooth comes in. But even before they get their first tooth, you should regularly clean their gums with a soft infant toothbrush, soft cloth, and water.
It would help if you did this routine twice daily for a couple of minutes. Not only will this help keep your child's gums clean, but it will also help create healthy habits.
By introducing this routine early on, your baby gets used to something being placed in their mouths that they do not eat or swallow. Your early actions will make it easier for your child to relax and positively respond at their first appointment.
Talk Positively About The Visit In Advance
Young children understand far more than people give them credit for. Not only do they hear the words you say, but they are also feeling the emotions you release. Be aware that you can transfer these emotions to your child if you have dental anxiety.
Introduce the dental visit far in advance once you schedule it. As you clean your child's gums, explain how the dentist will do the same at their dental appointment.
Read Books To Your Child About Visits To A Children's Dentist
There are numerous books for all ages on the market about going to the dentist for the first time. These books will help prepare your child about what to expect and gives you children or characters in the books to reference when talking to your child about their upcoming visit.
Play Going To The Dentist
Much of children's early learning comes through play and play-acting. Create a pretend dental office using a small chair and a toothbrush. Have dolls or stuffed animals visit the dentist to have their teeth examined.
Provide A Preferred Item At The Visit
No matter how well you prepare your child in advance for a visit to the children's dentist, a visit may still invoke a certain level of anxiety. Always provide a preferred item for them to hold during the visit. The item may be a favorite stuffed animal, toy, or blanket.
For more information, contact a children's dentist near you.