I’m not a huge fan of the dentist, and I know I’m not alone, but I also know that as a mom I can’t show that dislike or fear around my children. Dental care is important, and it’s something that begins incredibly early and quickly becomes a habit. Being fearful of the dentist is common, but there are ways that you can ease nerves and make the first few visits more comfortable and less scary for little ones. I’m working with the American Dental Association to bring you some tips for early dental care and how to prepare for your little one’s first visit. The American Dental Association recommends seeing your dentist early, so let’s talk about that!
Make your first dentist appointment early
Did you know that the first dental appointment should be made when the very first tooth appears? I know some may think we should wait until they have a few, or are actually brushing their teeth, but as soon as that first little tooth pops up, they should start seeing the dentist.
When you schedule your appointment, keep your little one’s schedule in mind. Obviously, avoid nap time so you don’t have a cranky one, and I would avoid meal or snack time as well. After a nap would be good, they are well-rested then and should be more cooperative.
Know what to expect
The first visit for a baby will be pretty uneventful and there won’t be much to prepare a baby for. For older kids, though, it can help a great deal to talk to them about what to expect. The dentist will want to examine their teeth and mouth, so have them practice opening their mouth as wide as they can. Let them use a mirror to see their own teeth and explain that the dentist will want to get nice and close to get a good look. You can even explain that the dentist has little mirrors and tools and will wear gloves.
For children who are really scared, see if your dentist will do a “mock” appointment, where they give a tour of the office, show off the chair and the tools, and just get the child acquainted with the smells, sights, and sounds of a dental office. Your dentist may or may not have a little gift of a toothbrush and other dental care items but if they don’t, plan a special post-appointment store visit to get your own! Be sure to look for products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance!
Keep good habits
Dental care doesn’t happen just at the dentist’s office, so be sure to work on good brushing habits. The ADA recommends brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, cleaning between teeth daily and limiting sugars. These are all things that as parents, we can start super early and model to help our children learn awesome dental habits!
Stay informed and in the know
There are SO many good resources on the ADA website, it’s worth a visit whenever you have questions or are just curious about dental care. It’s kind of our responsibility as parents to “have all the answers”, so keep the ADA website bookmarked and refer to it when needed. Your dentist is also always willing to answer questions, so don’t be afraid to call them or ask questions at appointments.
Use the ADA website to find a dentist near you and make sure to see them regularly. You can also look into dental clinics depending on your insurance coverage, and may even find mobile dental clinics that visit schools. These are available in our area and are pretty cool since your appointment happens during school hours, so you don’t have to miss work or work around schedules to make it happen. They won’t miss much school, and quite frankly, it’s worth it!
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of American Dental Association.