At Dentistry on 7th, we’ve been in the dentistry business for several years and are proud to give excellent service to a variety of clients from different age groups, including teenagers, adults, and the elderly. We’re especially passionate about treating children.
There are many benefits to improving your child’s oral hygiene. Not only do children with healthy teeth and gums suffer from less oral discomfort, but they’re more likely to chew, speak, and smile better. They can also have more self-confidence, and find more success at school. Children with good oral health are more likely to grow into adults with good oral health. Such adults are healthier overall and often do better socially and at work.
Improving a child’s oral hygiene isn’t a straightforward task. It takes time, energy, and discipline. With more stubborn children, it can even take some cleverness and creativity. As Hamilton’s preferred pediatric dentist we know that some children are resistant to good oral health practices due to anxiety. While this can appear challenging to overcome, with the right tips, parents can reduce dental anxiety in their children.
#1 Start Early
One of the most important tips for parents is to start their children early on the path to good oral hygiene. The earlier the better. By demystifying oral care, parents can help reduce dental anxiety in children as they grow.
For newborns, parents can gently clean their baby’s gum with a clean, damp, and soft cloth between feedings. When wrapped around a finger, a clean, damp, and soft cloth can also be gently used to clean the baby’s tooth.
Parents may start brushing their baby’s teeth when they’re 18 months old. Parents can use a pea-sized amount of low-fluoride baby’s toothpaste and gently brush the teeth at a 45-degree angle. It’s important to wipe with a clean and soft cloth afterwards to remove any residue. Children at that age are too young to brush their teeth on their own or spit out toothpaste or water.
Children are susceptible to cavities because they love sugary foods. If the mouth isn’t cleaned, it can invite bacteria. Food caught in hard-to-reach places can be difficult to remove with a toothbrush. That’s why it’s important for parents to use children’s flossers to clean the gaps between teeth.
After the age of three, a child can try to brush themselves with a parent’s assistance. By the age of six, they may be ready to brush on their own. While parents should make sure that their children’s teeth are brushed and flossed regularly, they should not push them to do something they’re not ready for. This can increase dental anxiety. For example, if a child isn’t ready to brush on their own, then parents can continue to assist until they’re ready. There’s no hard or fast rule.
Parents should avoid speaking in harsh tones. A kind and friendly voice with simple words can help reduce dental anxiety in children. Likewise, positive reinforcement such as compliments or applause can also help children with dental phobia. Avoid sharing painful dental experiences and using negative words such as “pain” or “hurt”. Negativity can add to a child’s dental phobia and carry into adulthood.
Alternatively, parents can try making oral care fun.
- Children can pick their toothbrush from the drugstore featuring their favourite cartoon character
- Flavoured kinds of toothpastes can make oral care feel more enticing
- Parents can turn oral care into a game involving music or sound effects
- Parents can try books, videos, and songs that teach children about oral hygiene
#2 Lead by Example
Parents can help reduce dental phobia in their children by leading by example. For children, their caregiver are role models. A child will copy their parent’s habits and mannerisms, especially in their early years. By brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash regularly, a parent can help reduce dental anxiety.
Likewise, it’s important for the whole family to follow a healthy diet. Foods such as water, carrots, broccoli, celery, dark leafy greens, apples, pears, berries all help improve oral hygiene. On the other hand, the overconsumption of sticky candy, candied popcorn, soft drinks, potato chips can be bad for oral health.
Even if a person brushes and flosses regularly, a bad diet can quickly lead to tooth and gum disease. Such conditions can be uncomfortable and painful and leave children feeling anxious about brushing their teeth. When it comes to dental anxiety, prevention can sometimes be the best type of cure.
#3 Find the Right Family Dentist
We can’t stress this enough. It’s important for parents to take their child to the right family dentist for regular checkups from an early age. This will help demystify oral care and reduce their apprehension. What’s more, it will keep their oral care on track and reduce the stress associated with the treatment of problems that could have been caught early. Our preventative treatment options include diagnostic exams, cleanings, fluoride treatments and sealants. We also use the latest technology that makes treatment as easy and as comfortable as possible.
At your favourite family dental clinic in Hamilton – we help children feel less anxious with our kind and friendly approach. We also have entertainment options such as TV sets to keep them distracted. We take pride in creating an environment that is caring, friendly and fun! For children that need extra support with anxiety, we offer sedation options such as laughing gas.
Kids coming to Dentistry on 7th are also monitored for orthodontic problems. As Hamilton’s most accomplished orthodontist – we help treat children with a misaligned bite or teeth through many treatment options. It’s important to treat such issues early because treatments are most effective while the jaw is still expanding and can be more easily influenced to grow correctly.
Children with orthodontic issues can suffer from a variety of anxiety-inducing problems. They may have trouble speaking and swallowing. Discomfort from orthodontic issues can be felt in the teeth, jaw, ears, and neck. Orthodontic problems can also grow worse in adulthood. Fortunately, there also are orthodontic treatments available for adults at our clinic.
Parents can feel overwhelmed by their child’s dental phobia. But they can reduce the anxiety by leading by example, getting their children started early on the road to good oral care, finding a friendly family dental clinic, and staying positive.