Friday, October 6th, 2017
Your Vancouver dentist provides tips and tricks to help your children enjoy brushing their teeth in this informative dental article!
While most of us have some degree of apprehension when we know we’re going to be visiting the dentist, children are particularly fearful, especially if this will be their first time having an actual dental procedure performed.
Studies show that children’s fear of the dentist is very closely linked to how their parents feel about it. In other words, how you relate and react to the dentist and dental procedures, will directly affect how your child feels.
At Enhance Dental Centre, we recommend that you set a good example for your children, not just by stressing the importance of good dental hygiene, but by incorporating fun into how you relate to all things dental related. This, in combination with our Pediatric Dentists, will ensure a lifetime of healthy teeth for your child.
Sticking to a Routine
Most importantly, showing your children that brushing and flossing is part of your daily routine, will help get them into their own positive pattern of oral hygiene. In the mornings and evenings, make brushing a group activity. Your child will feel like they are doing something ‘grown up’ with mommy or daddy, and at the same time learn the routine of taking care of their teeth. It is also helpful for you to have a set time each morning and evening when brushing will occur, so as to help your child develop consistency in their routine.
Making it Familiar
Make it fun for your children by allowing them to choose their own toothbrush, cup and toothpaste. There are lots of options available for children. They can choose a toothbrush with their favorite cartoon character, and a toothpaste with a fruity flavor they enjoy. Keep in mind that toothpastes designed for adults can often be too strong for children and could burn their gums and tongue. Allowing your child to choose their own toothpaste from those available for children will improve the chances that your child will find brushing an enjoyable experience.
If something looks like a toy or a favorite character, children are more likely to want to use it. And if it tastes good, even better. Just be sure to stress to your child that while toothpaste tastes good, it is a form of medicine and should never be used for any other purpose but brushing their teeth.
Use Stickers and Rewards
What child doesn’t love stickers? Just like at school where children are rewarded with gold stars for their accomplishments, stickers and charts can be used at home to help keep your child on track with their brushing and flossing.
When you’re creating the chart, work with your child to choose colors and stickers they enjoy. Then, explain the goal of twice daily brushing. Then, have your child place a sticker on the chart each time they complete brushing their teeth. At the end of the week, count up the stickers. You can base rewards on the number of stickers on the chart, for example, if the child has under a certain number of stickers, they will not receive a reward; if they have ten stickers, a small toy or treat; if they have fourteen stickers, perhaps a movie or dinner at their favorite restaurant.
Make it a Party
Children are definitely more open to completing tasks if it’s fun, so why not play some bouncy music while you brush? You can choose a favorite song and assign it to the task of brushing. Different parts of the song can be designated for different parts of the child’s teeth. By the end of the song, they will have brushed the front, back, top and bottom before they even realize it!
Tips For Visits to the Dentist
At Enhance Dental Centre, we have Pediatric Dentists who specialize in treating small patients. And while a trip to the dentist can be a scary and intimidating experience for your child, there are steps you can take that will help prepare your child for a visit to our clinic.
One of the best ways to help your child is to start taking them to the dentist early in life. During your child’s first visit to our clinic, we can simply sit down with you and your child and have a ‘getting to know you’ visit where no actual treatment is performed. We can also offer your child a tour of the dental clinic, so that during their next visit, they don’t feel like they are in a strange place.
As noted above, familiarity plays a big part in how your child will react to dental treatments. At Enhance Dental Centre, we have gone out of our way to ensure your child is in comforting surroundings, by having toys, books and DVDs they are familiar with. It is also comforting for your child to bring a favorite stuffed animal or toy when they visit the dentist.
Another good way to ease your child’s apprehension is to have them visit the dentist at the same time as their siblings. If you have more than one child, book their appointments together so that they have a support system in place. This is also a good time for each child to take an active role in the dental health of their siblings. One child can ‘play’ assistant and ‘help’ the dentist by selecting and holding certain tools. Allowing a child to participate this way can be an educational experience, as well as helping to ally their fears.
As children grown into pre-teens and teens, looks become an important element of their identity. Share pictures that show the difference between those with good and bad oral hygiene and stress that the more they take care of their teeth, the less likely they are of developing tooth decay or an unsightly smile.
With a few simple changes, you can teach your kids that good oral hygiene is a part of everyday life. At Enhance Dental Centre, we’ve taken the steps to offer your child a warm and welcoming environment so that they don’t feel afraid when they come to visit us.
If you enjoy this article, you might enjoy our previous article on how to protect your kid’s teeth during competitive sporting events!