Spiders, the dark, and heights: children develop many fears that need to be
conquered. With strange white rooms, unusual smells, and masked doctors, the
dentist can be a very common one for young children. Yet allowing this anxiety
to develop can cause serious health problems to children that could persist in
later life. Teaching your kids about the importance of oral health can be a great
way to calm their nerves, and it doesn’t have to be boring. Consider trying out
some of the recommendations below.
1. Start check-ups young
Normalising check-ups can be the most effective way to eradicate your child’s
nerves. The more common you make something, the less anxiety it will provoke.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) advises parents to take
their children to the dentist every six months, starting when their first tooth
appears. If children get used to this routine, and grow up with memories of
visiting the dentist, it will seem like a normal part of life that they can’t even
remember being scared of.
2. Watch the words you say
Kids really look to their parents to gauge how to react to things, so using positive
reinforcements can teach your child that dentists are the ‘good guys’. By
substituting negative words like ‘pain’ and ‘hurt’ for positive phrases about how
the dentist is a ‘superhero’ for teeth, here to ‘check for sugar bugs’, your child
will learn to see trips to the dentist as exciting rather than daunting.
3. Make it fun
This may all sound like a bit of a chore, but it doesn’t have to be. Kids love to
pretend, so playing dentist at home can be a great way to educate your child. All
you need is a toothbrush, mirror, and a willing pretend patient, and your child
can get to grips with how an appointment works. Colourful toothbrushes with
their favourite cartoon characters, and even different flavours of toothpaste, can
also encourage kids to want to brush their teeth and make everything that little
4. Make oral health a priority
Teaching children that oral health is an investment will have perhaps the
greatest lasting impact. Your child can quickly internalize a simple routine that
involves brushing twice a day, and flossing regularly, and will most likely carry it
through to adulthood. By creating an open discussion about dental hygiene, and
having a solid routine that they can follow, they will soon learn to look after their
teeth without even thinking.
5. Choose a dentist with experience
Finally, choosing the right dentistry can be crucial to putting your child at ease.
Dentists who specialize in families will be experts in making your child as
comfortable as possible, and will put their best efforts into building trust and
Here at Whistler Dental, we treat outpatients like family and specialize in suiting
every patient’s needs, so book an appointment for your child today!