Contrary to popular belief, dental fear in kids is not innate. It's acquired. A parent’s behaviour towards dental check-ups or treatments can affect the way a child perceives them. If a parent has dental anxiety, his kids are most likely to experience it as well.
Parents can help kids get through a dental check-up without fear. There are at least eight ways by which parents can achieve this. They are as follows:
Introduce oral hygiene early – Oral hygiene must start while kids are still months old. Babies’ gums must be free of milk residue for their permanent teeth to grow strong. Parents can use a swab of cotton dabbed in warm water in cleaning their babies’ gums. Parents can replace cotton swabs with a toothbrush once their babies’ first teeth show. This will help babies and kids get used to tooth brushing.
Bring them to the dentist early – Dental visits must start at one year old. Early trips to the dentist can provide early detection and prevention of dental problems. Also, it can help toddlers and young kids feel at ease in the presence of a dentist.
Teach dental and oral hygiene in a fun way – Search for books and videos that show the importance of dental visits in a fun way. Learn happy songs which kids can sing on their way to the dentist.
Refrain from sharing painful dental experiences – More often than not, parents scare kids with painful dental treatments in order to keep them from eating sweets or to reinforce tooth brushing. Instead of doing this, emphasize the comfort and the benefits dental check-ups bring.
Prepare them – Kids usually fear something that they don’t know anything about. Let them know what can happen in a dental visit. Practice it or do role plays at least two days before the actual check-up.
Go to a pediatric dentist – This professional is skilled in accommodating kids with dental problems. Pediatric dentists usually have child-friendly clinics, equipment and staff.