February is National Children’s Dental Care Month and a great time to help start your kids start developing good memories and associations to dental care. If they love going to the dentist as a child, chances are they won’t miss annual checkups as adults.
Dr. Joe Eckford wants your children to value dental visits. Here are some ways you can help your kids overcome dental anxiety and build a foundation for good dental health.
Go to the dentist early and often
Your child should start regular dental visits as soon as their first tooth erupts and at least by their first birthday. Early visits build a foundation of trust with Dr. Eckford and combat dental fears.
Start building good oral hygiene habits
The sooner you teach your children good oral hygiene, the sooner they will begin to build the habits that will protect their teeth throughout their lives.
Little kids like to copy their parents, so brush and floss twice a day with your kids. Talk up your visits to the dentist, which will make annual checkups seem like a natural way to take care of their teeth. And don’t regale your kids with scary stories about painful dental visits gone wrong.
Prepare kids for their dental visits
It’s always a good idea to prepare children for any first-time experience, including going to the dentist. A prepared child is less likely to feel anxious when they go to the dentist for the first time.
Explain how the dentist will look at their teeth to make sure they’re healthy. Then, he’ll clean them and, perhaps, coat them with a gel that will keep them strong.
Practicing at home can help. Find a chair that becomes the dental chair. Use some blunt utensils as pretend dental tools. Ask your child to open wide, and count their teeth. Use a toothbrush to simulate the brushing tool the dentist will use to clean their teeth.
Choose the right dentist
Dr. Eckford loves kids and is dedicated to making your children comfortable in the dentist’s chair. But no matter whom you choose as your child’s first dentist, pick someone you and your child trust, someone who is patient and kind, and someone who’s skilled in dental procedures.
Educating children about the importance of good dental care is an important first step in developing a lifetime of good oral care habits. Dr. Eckford is committed to answering your and your child’s questions and teaching your kids about preventive check-ups to ensure good oral health.
Even a prepared child can freak out in new situations. They can cry, refuse to open wide, and generally be uncooperative.
Bring along whatever calms your child, perhaps a favorite book, stuffed animal, or blankie.
And whatever you do, stay calm. If you get tense, your child will feel anxious, too.
Our staff knows how to calm fearful children and works hard to put them at ease.
If you have any questions about how you can best prepare your child for their dental visit, call our office at (713) 433-6431, or schedule an appointment using our online booking tool.