What if taking your kids to the dentist could actually be fun? Believe it or not, that’s not as far-fetched as it may sound. Here are a few ways you can get your child excited for their dental check-ups.
Make it Routine
Kids aren’t always comfortable going into new environments, but introduce them to the dental team early on you might get an entirely different experience. The American Dental Association recommends that children should have their first dental visit no later than six months after their first tooth appears or on or around their first birthday, whichever comes first.
Promote Fun by Association
Kids love going to the playground or the ice cream parlor because they know something super fun awaits them. That same logic is why so many pediatricians stock lollipops to hand out after immunizations. It’s great if you can take your child to a dental office that specializes in pediatric dentistry, but even if that’s not an option you can help promote a positive association by linking dental checkups with something fun like a new coloring book to use in the waiting room or a YouTube playlist kids can watch during their cleaning.
Get Your Kids Involved
A lot of tantrums can be linked to children feeling like they’ve lost control. From fighting for the right to wear shorts in December to refusing to eat anything green, kids want to have a say, so give it to them! Use a calendar and some smiling tooth stickers (easy to find at craft stores or online) to track good hygiene habits and then create a “report card” your child can take back to the dental office. Remember, pride can be a powerful motivator and who doesn’t want to show off not just their pearly whites but a perfect teeth-cleaning streak as well?
Above all, remember that your child gets his or her cues from you. If you’re anxious about how a dental appointment is going to go, your child might reflect that anxiety. Get excited about your kids’ dental health and those good habits are likely to catch on, too.