Tips for Parents – Create a Positive Dental Visit for Your Child

Taking your children to the Dentist is necessary to promote and maintain a healthy mouth.  The dental office can be an unfamiliar place for your child. This can create some anxiety and fears of visiting the dentist. Here are my top tips to Parents on how to create a POSITIVE visit to the dentist for your children. These tips go a long way, and before you know it, your child will LOVE visiting the dentist.

  1. Start visiting the Dentist at a YOUNG age
    The BC Dental Association recommends visiting the dentist by age 1. This may sound very young… but the younger a child starts going to the dentist, the sooner they become comfortable with the staff and office. The dental office will become a safe place for them, where they can have their teeth cleaned and examined. Soon, they will love visiting their dentist, and getting a prize for a fun visit.
  2. Use POSITIVE, friendly language at home
    Using positive language about the dentist goes a LONG way in creating a fun and enjoyable visit for your child. Use words like FUN and HEALTHY. Avoid words with a negative tone, like: sharp, hurt, pain, bad taste, drilling, etc. Children learn from watching their parents and caregivers. So be careful when discussing your own views on the dentist. Make sure you use positive language when discussing your own visits to the dentist.
  3. Read books about the dentist
    Reading books about visiting the dentist, or playing a pretend visit to the dentist, will work wonders for preparing your child for their first visit. My favourite children dental books are: The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist, and Sesame Street: Ready, Set, Brush.
  4. Make brushing at home FUN!
    Sing songs, count your little ones teeth, try different toothpastes, try a children’s electric toothbrush… make your child laugh! If your child fusses, still brush! Just do it more quickly. Your child will learn this is an important part of their bedtime routine.
  5. Don’t give up!
    If your child’s first visit to the dentist does not go as you hoped, don’t give up! We try again 6 months later.  Try to book the appointment after a snack (so their not hungry!) and when the child is rested. This helps the child focus and get excited about their visit. Another tip is to visit your dentist twice yearly, so the child knows its a safe place.