It can be hard to break old habits.
It wasn’t long ago that people emitted a small groan at the thought of a trip to the Dentist, but times have changed and dentistry has come a long way in a short time. Nowadays we don’t remove teeth unless absolutely necessary, great oral hygiene means a visit is more for a check-up than a ‘fix, and the best bit….we have Netflix!
And that’s the message we’d love you to teach your children (not the Netflix bit, the part about the Dentist being fun and not scary).
So what’s the best way to talk to your kids about keeping teeth clean and coming to the dentist?
Here are our top tips:
Choose the right words
How you talk about teeth and the dentist will make a huge impact on your child. For example, when you’re brushing teeth only use positive words and keep it light hearted and fun, such as ‘we’ve got to get the sugar bugs off so we can keep enjoying our treats’. You can set a timer to make brushing a game and it’s a good idea to put a mirror at your child’s height so they can watch while they brush.
Words to avoid like the plague
We might think we never use negative words, but it’s easier than you think to say something like ‘it won’t hurt’or ‘the pain won’t last long’.
At WDC we say ‘NOOOOO’ to any negative words, especially ‘hurt’ or pain’!
Here are some things you might accidentally say that we definitely recommend avoiding:
‘My teeth are terrible’
‘I hate the dentist’
‘Hopefully you don’t have dad’s bad teeth’
‘if you don’t behave I’ll take you to the Dentist’ (Please don’t ever use the dentist as a threat! We’re not that bad, honest.)
Here are some words we say a big ‘hey yeah’ to:
‘We’re going to get our teeth counted’
‘I wonder how many teeth you’ve got?’
‘Superheros have super strong, healthy teeth’
‘Warragul Dental Care are flipping awesome!’
Start visits early
Once you start going to the Dentist it just becomes part of your little one’s routine, like going to school or tidying up toys when they’ve finished playing (OK, that last one was a bit optimistic). We recommend bringing your child in for their first visit when they’re due to start Kinder, or around 3-4 years old. It’s better to get them used to the sights and smells of the Dentist before they have an accident or chipped tooth so when they do come in they’ll know what to expect. That’ll make it easier and more stress-free for you too.
Make the first trip fun
As soon as you think your child is ready, bring them in for a visit. We’ll take the first appointment really slowly; we might just show them the room and let them have a ride in the chair without looking in their mouth. Our main aim is to introduce them to the team and make them feel comfortable and secure. Who knows, maybe next time they’ll let Barry count their teeth.
If they don’t want us to look in their mouth it’s best if you don’t force it. We prefer to take our time and wait until they’re ready.
We’ve got lots of fun tricks up our sleeve to make the visit enjoyable, including Barry and his mega-watt smile that kids love to brush, a toy corner in the patient lounge and Netflix showing all your favourite shows (we love PJ Masks).
Teeth are F.U.N
Just as it’s fun to keep our bodies active and healthy, we think keeping teeth clean and healthy can be pretty good fun too. Maybe try counting your teeth together using a stick, or playing pretend dentists with toys.
More than anything, we want your kids to grow up pain-free and with teeth doing what they oughta be do – chomping, smiling and laughing.
Come and met Barry
If you’ve got any questions or are ready to bring your child in for their first visit, give us a call on 5623 5588. Make sure you let us know it’s your child’s first visit so we can make sure Barry is ready for his visitors.