Dental anxiety in children is quite common, and it can be due to a number of factors. Children who experience dental anxiety often have a negative association with the dentist or dental office. This may be due to previous negative experiences, or it could simply be because of unfamiliarity.
Start dental visits while they're young
It's easier for your child to get comfortable in the dentist's chair at an early age than it is once they've gotten older. If you regularly take your child for checkups when they're still a toddler, they may grow accustomed to the process and look forward to their dentist appointments. By the time they hit the teenage years, they'll already be used to those routine visits, and they may be less resistant to having them done. It's also helpful to start children off early with healthy oral hygiene habits, so they'll have fewer problems with cavities and other issues as they get older. Starting them off early will also give them practice that will help them avoid problems later on in life.
Take a comforting item to the dentist's appointment
When you visit your dentist's office, your child may feel stressed or nervous about sitting in the dental chair. To ease anxieties and nervousness, encourage your child to take a comfort item with them to the dental office. This could be a favorite stuffed animal, a blanket, or a stuffy that smells like home. Comfort items help children relax in the dental chair and feel more at ease with visiting the dentist.
When children feel nervous when visiting their dentist, they may have a hard time sitting still during the exam. Encourage your children to sit still and relax.
Another thing you can do is bring a favorite toy to play games with while in the waiting room during your appointment. Games like Monopoly, Candy Land, and other games that can be played while sitting in the waiting room can help distract your child from the fear of going to the dentist. You can also play other games that encourage dental care habits, such as brushing your teeth for two minutes twice per day.
Read stories or play games involving dentist visits
One way to help children get more comfortable with the idea of going to the dentist is to read stories about dentists, dental patients, and dental careers. If you make reading fun by acting out the stories with your child, they will likely associate the experience with a positive one, making them more willing to visit the dentist in the future.
Lead by example
Children learn by watching their parents and caregivers – so it's crucial that you take care of your oral health as well. Brushing and flossing regularly as well as visiting your dentist, will help your child understand the importance of great oral health at an early age. This will make it easier for them to keep their own teeth healthy and strong throughout their life.
Teach your kids the importance of great oral health
The best way to teach a child about good oral hygiene is by leading by example. Brush and floss your teeth as recommended and visit a dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. Parents should demonstrate good behaviors like brushing and flossing in front of their kids. Children mimic their parent's behavior, so make sure you're practicing what you preach. If you are nervous about visiting the dentist for any reason, your child will pick up on this fear and anxiety as well.
Lead by example and show them that a routine visit with your dentist doesn't have to be a scary experience!
Call our office today to schedule an appointment for your child's checkup and cleaning. We look forward to serving you for many years to come!