Dentists have spent a lot of time and money to make dentistry less scary. I maintain that most of the fear is based on experiences that happened years ago, fears that were passed on and shared with others, especially children.
It’s incredibly important to maintain good oral hygiene. Not only is a healthy smile attractive, but the health of your teeth also helps determines the health of your body, to some extent. So it is vital that your kids have a healthy relationship not only with their teeth, but with their dentist.
One of the ways you can help your kids is to not pass on any fears or negative perceptions about your experience at the dentist. Kids are listening and looking to you to shape their opinions, and it isn’t helpful for them to believe the dentist is a scary place to go before they have even had a chance to experience it for themselves. Don’t say things like “brush your teeth or you will have to go to the dentist and it is much worse”. The dentist isn’t a punishment for them; it is an important part of their overall health maintenance.
You can also help by visiting the dentist early. They should have their first appointment at the age of 1. It will be short, but it will help you not only establish a routine for your children, as well as create a sense of safety, but it will also allow you to ask important questions about their teeth. Bring them to your visits, so the environment feels familiar.
Lastly, find a good dentist that is patient and likes kids. Pick someone who makes the experience fun. Choose someone that you trust, so that you can let them guide your child through the experience as much as possible. Sometimes, a nervous parent can make things worse for the kid, so it is important to be able to back off as much as possible and know that your child is in capable hands.
Good dental health starts young, and it involves working together with your dentist. That becomes more difficult if your child fears the experience, so it is important to help prevent any undo anxieties from being passed on to your child. Keep your fears to yourself, find a place you trust, and start early in order to make it the best possible experience for everyone.