It is not unusual for children to resist going to the dentist. This is often due to a lack of understanding about their teeth and a fear of what will go on in the dental office with all the noisy tools and foreign smells. How do you help your child look forward to going for a checkup in Papillion? Here are a few ways.
Teach Them the Science
Children typically love knowing all about the names and functions of their internal organs, so it makes sense that they would enjoy learning more about their teeth as well. Help them identify terms such as gums, enamel, molars, roots, canines and so on to create more familiarity with the structure and function of their teeth.
When youngsters know the names of enemies of their teeth such as plaque, tartar, cavities and acids and how they harm the teeth, they may gain incentive to protect their little chompers. Helping your children recognize how a dentist keeps their teeth safe from these enemies could paint him or her as the hero and allow them to become more excited to go to their annual checkups.
Make Learning Fun
Many fun books may be available at the local library that can be used to instruct kids about caring for their teeth and having them examined regularly. There are also some great websites sponsored by the American Dental Association that help kids learn through engaging interactive games, puzzles and videos, and make the subject matter more interesting to children.
One simple activity, smearing peanut butter on a gloved hand and allowing the child to “floss” between the fingers with a piece of string, can show kids how easy and effective it can be to take that extra step and how flossing can keep teeth healthy between checkups. Similar activities can inform and allow children to understand the vital role that a friendly and caring dentist plays in maintaining their dental health.
There are also demonstrations parents can help kids do to see for themselves how certain foods and behaviors affect their dental health. For example, by applying simple materials such as cola, vinegar and fluoride mouth rinse to eggshells, kids can see the effect of different acidic substances on tooth enamel. This could open a discussion on how to prevent the damage by treating and cleaning teeth properly.
Let Them Make a Plan
When children help make a plan, they will often stick to it more successfully. Hanging a calendar on the bedroom or bathroom wall can be a good way to achieve this. Keep stickers handy and let them mark the calendar each time they brush and floss their teeth. A week full of stickers could earn them a small reward. Let them select their own (with guidance) brush and toothpaste. Let them choose and mark the day they want to visit the dentist on the calendar, and when it is closer, a simple countdown can make it more fun for them to anticipate.
A trip to your children’s dentist doesn’t have to be scary or intimidating. Following a few of these tips can alleviate their fear and may even help them look forward to visiting their dental hero.