Your child’s first visit to the dentist
When should you start taking your child to the dentist, what should you do to prepare your child for their first visit to the dentist and how do you avoid dentophobia? Here are some questions to think about when it comes to your child’s oral health.
First visit to the dentist
You may be wondering when you should start taking your baby to the dentist. Recommendations vary from country to country. As such, it can be a good idea to check the suggested age in your country or call up your local dentist’s office and ask when their first dental visit should occur. A common recommendation is 6 months after their first tooth has come in. It is important to have a dentist track the development of your child’s baby teeth as oral health issues can impact everything from how we eat to the way we smile. Here are some tips to help you prepare for that first visit to the dentist with your baby:
1. Talk about the appointment beforehand with the same enthusiasm you would a fun activity.
2. Try to avoid making a too big of a deal out of it.
3. Introduce a daily oral hygiene habit to get them used to having their mouths cleaned.
4. Bring their favourite toy or book.
5. Make sure they have had plenty of sleep and have been fed.
Fears of dentist
Many people are afraid of going to the dentist, this is known as dentophobia. Steps can be taken from an early age to avoid the development of this fear. This is especially important if someone close to the child has dentophobia. If this person is you, ask someone you trust, such as your partner or a family member, to take your child to the dentist for you. This will help prevent your negative feelings from transferring to your kid. Remember they can pick up on how you are feeling so try to stay calm, the dentist is there to help your child.
Other ways to make your child feel more relaxed include positive communication and reinforcement. It can also be useful to introduce the concept of a dentist to your child early on, for example through books, songs or when playing make believe.
If your child has had previous negative experiences with medical professionals, reach out to the dentist beforehand and let them know so they can take extra precaution to make sure that your child feels as comfortable as possible.
Regular visits to the dentist
After your baby’s first visit to the dentist how often they should return depends on the individual child, from every 2 years to more frequent visits. Consult with your child’s dentist to find the best solution. Between these regular visits keep up your child’s daily oral hygiene routine, daily brushing will help keep their baby teeth healthy and clean. Going to the dentist should be a lifelong habit. Set a good example for your child by making your own appointments a priority as well.
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