If there’s anyone who’s scared of dentists, it’s kids. Well, ok, some adults are too, but at least they don’t cry and get hysterical when Mr. or Ms. Dentist approaches the dental chair, holding an extracting forceps, as much as kids do.
Anyway, it’s normal for kids to be afraid of something. Psychologists say that fear is a vital response to emotional and physical danger. Fear can be triggered by traumas or bad experiences that had once put us in danger or in grief. And children’s fear of dental procedures, tooth extraction specifically, is just one of the many fears that they need to cope with — with the help of their parents.
Here are some tips that parents can follow to lessen or eliminate dental anxiety from the child.
Teach and engage your child in dental hygiene at an early age
A worldwide top toothpaste brand suggests that the time to begin cleaning and caring for your child’s teeth could be as early as when their first tooth comes out, which is maybe around after his 6th month. Use a gauze or soft cloth to wipe his tooth after his last feeding for the day. And when he becomes a toddler, with around 6 to 8 teeth, get him a small head, soft-bristled toothbrush that lights up or plays a song when he uses it. This will make him enjoy his tooth brushing moment.
Although innovations in dental procedures like sedation dentistry help lessen or eliminate dental fear in both children and adults, teaching your child dental hygiene at an early age will let him get accustomed to caring for his teeth and could prevent dental anxiety in the future.
Utilize visual, informative tools for orientation
There’s a lot of content both for adults and kids about dental procedure demonstration on the web, while some are contained in children’s books. There are also treatment and surgery videos and animated games in which your child can play dentist and do the procedure himself. Social media offers a load of blogs and vlogs and news, but choose the appropriate material which you can use to acquaint your child with dental health and information.
As your child gains more knowledge about dental health, his consciousness on the benefit of oral health will build up.
Share knowledge and stories about dental health
Make your child understand the importance of keeping his teeth healthy. Share with him information on the benefits of having nice strong teeth, that he can flash a big smile anytime and always have fresh breath. Don’t hesitate to inform him of the dangers of having bad teeth; the physical, social and emotional impacts of bad oral health.
As a parent, you are the nearest person next to your child at all times, 24 hours a day. You are his first teacher and his role model. Your words become his knowledge, your actions are his inspirations. But your fears become his fears too. Reinforce good oral hygiene habits at home to encourage your children to do the same to prevent dental anxiety.