going to the dentist with less anxiety
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going to the dentist with less anxiety

Going to the dentist isn't any fun, but it is one of those things that just has to be done. For years, I fought the process and didn't go for my regular cleanings and in the end, it sure didn't pay to do so. I ended up spending ten times as much time in the chair and a boat-load of money in dental repairs. If you don't like going to the dentist, you can make it easier on yourself. This blog will show you a few tips that can help you improve the experience and get through the treatment without as much discomfort.

going to the dentist with less anxiety

Tips To Help Your Toddler Learn Great Tooth Care Habits

Jordan Arnold

When your child is a toddler, tooth care can be very challenging. Many toddlers do not like to have their teeth brushed, and daily care can be something that both parent and child dread. However, your example and teaching during this crucial period of development can have a profound influence over your child and their tooth care habits. 

Here are some basic tips that can help you set your young child on the path of good oral health for life. 

1. Be a Model

You child learns best from your own example. Instead of brushing your teeth at a different time of day than your toddler, do it together in the bathroom. You might even prepare the toothbrush and have your toddler "brush" your teeth before you brush theirs. This way, they can get excited about making daily brushing a bonding experience with you as they practice "grown up" things. 

2. Read and watch inspirational tooth stories.

Some cartoons will model proper brushing, and children can be very receptive to submitting to tooth care routines because a beloved character takes the time to do it. Daniel Tiger is a particular favorite with many young toddlers because they can interact with him as he goes through a regular routine.

Your local library may have books on going to the dentist and the importance of brushing your teeth. 

3. Make brushing as painless as possible.

Some parents feel like they have to brush hard to get their child's teeth clean, but a gentle hand will be more successful in helping your child to brush well. Brushing hard only causes discomfort and injury to the gums, which will make a child dread brushing again. Instead, use gentle, even strokes. 

4. Provide incentives. 

Every child will feel better about embracing good tooth care if they have an incentive. Stay away from treats or snacks as incentives for tooth care, because they are not healthy for teeth. Instead you might:

  • create a sticker chart that includes rewards for things like smiling as you brush your teeth, brushing twice each day, or brushing for two minutes. 
  • sing a song praising your child for making tooth care a priority.
  • play small games as you go to the bathroom to brush, such as riding on your back or pretending together. 

These are simple incentives that go a long way in improving your child's relationship with brushing and flossing.

5. Make dental appointment a priority, and prepare for them.

Don't assume that just because your toddler is barely walking that they don't need to see the dentist. Your dentist will still want to look for obvious decay, development problems, or trouble with food choices or pacifiers. Since many people associate the dentist with pain or fear, these first visits are crucial for later dental success and reduced future anxiety. 

Children are very perceptive and they will pick up on your attitude about the dentist. Try not to show fear or anxiety yourself or to speak negatively about going to the dentist, even when joking. You may prejudice your child against the dentist before they experience it, and the experience will go worse because they are already afraid. 

Instead, read books about going to the dentist. Talk about caring for your body and how your teeth need a special doctor to make sure they are strong and healthy. Show a video of what a dentist might do when looking at someone's teeth. You can even visit the dentist beforehand to help your child feel more comfortable in the new place.

6. Have a firm, healthy meal schedule.

Children, especially young children and toddlers, are more likely to develop tooth decay if they have sugary snacks and graze all day instead of having full meals. Reduce snacks or provide tooth healthy options like cut veggies, cheese, and low-sugar yogurt. Tastes for snacks and sweets develop early. 

For more ideas on dental care, contact a local dentist office in your area or visit a site like https://valleyoakdentalgroup.com/