How to Stop Your Kids Becoming Afraid of the Dentist
Dental health is extremely important – healthy teeth make you look much better, and of course, you can avoid all kinds of health problems if you take care of your teeth and gums and pay regular visits to the dentist. However, many adults fear the dentist, and end up not getting regular check ups or going through extreme anxiety when they do need to have dental work done. Often, the fear is linked to a bad experience at the dentist's office as a child, and so whether you yourself are afraid of the dentist or not, it is important to make sure your children always have positive experiences when their teeth are checked or treated, so they'll avoid the phobia.
If you suffer from anxiety that you don’t want to pass on to your children, here are some tips for helping your kids see the dentist in a positive light:
Set a Good Example
If you want your kids to genuinely believe dental health is important, you're going to have to demonstrate that you take it seriously too. This means you'll need to ensure you have a good dental plan for yourselves as parents, like Caps Dental Plan, as well as for your kids. Make sure you go to every appointment and if you are afraid, don't let your kids see it. If you are calm and confident about dental visits, you can bring your children along with you so they can see that the dentist's office is a normal, safe place.
Find a Kind Dentist!
Look for a dentist who is good with children or people who are nervous about their dental visits. Friends with kids may be able to recommend somebody. Someone who is patient about answering children's often endless questions and setting their minds at ease will make the experience less threatening, and dentists who are good with kids can even make routine check-ups fun for children. If your child likes their dentist they may even look forward to their check-ups, and will be far less frightened if they have to have some work done, like a filling.
Don't Use the Dentist or Dental Work as a Threat
When you are encouraging your kids to get into good oral hygiene habits and brush their teeth, avoid saying things like 'if you don't, the dentist will have to drill your teeth'. These kinds of mental images are bound to make them think of the dentists as somewhere where horrible, painful things might happen. If you want to scare them into looking after their teeth, instead use non-dentist related concepts like telling them their teeth will look yellow and horrible, people will think they have bad breath and are smelly, their teeth will hurt, or they could lose teeth.
Being positive about why dental trips are important and making sure your child finds both their dentist, and the dentist's office familiar and friendly, will help avoid them developing a fear of dentists that will last into adulthood.