Things to consider when you’re introducing your children to dental care

Preparing your children for the lifelong relationship with the dentist can be tough. Many children get uncomfortable in hospital environments, even without any negative experiences in the past. As a parent, it's important that you make sure your child is as comfortable as possible when it comes to maintaining their dental hygiene. This includes feeling safe when they are going to the dentist, as well as being well informed about how they should handle their dental hygiene on their own.

First visits

Your child's first visit at the dentist's should occur about six months after their first teeth have erupted. These visits are usually just a way to introduce your child to the dentist. The first times you take your child to a dentist are very important for their future development, as it is then the child will shape their mental image of dentistry. A bad experience in these first visits can keep haunting your child for the rest of their lives.

The best dentist for your child

If you have a dentist that you know and trust, and they are experienced in working with children, you can take your child there. It's better for you as a parent too, as you will know if the dentist is capable of handling the situation. The child should feel completely safe when going to the dentist the first few times, and if you feel comfortable from being in a familiar environment with a dentist that you know, that could be perceived by your child as well. The best dentist for your child is someone who is experienced and who can make both you and your child feel comfortable.

Things to do at home

To further accustom your child to oral hygiene, there are more things you can do than to just take the child to the dentist. Help them brush their teeth when they start erupting, and instruct them on how to do it themselves when they are old enough. If the child is reluctant, you might be able to turn the brushing in to a game, or follow it up with positive reinforcement to make the child get a pleasant association with brushing their teeth. Being an example for them is also an idea to help them get use to caring about dental hygiene. You can let them watch you brush your teeth every night, or let them come with you when it's time for you to go to the dentist. This way, they will know it's something that everyone has to do, and if you're not uncomfortable with it, neither should they be.