“It’s time to go to the dentist!”
Wouldn’t it be great if your child happily hopped into the car, ready to make the trip when you made that announcement? That dream can be a reality if you lay the proper groundwork.
February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and in honor of that, we’re happy to provide four ways to help you get the best dental care for your child.
Dental care for kids doesn’t always have to be a struggle. At Bass Dentistry, we want children (and their parents!) to feel comfortable and confident when caring for their teeth at home and visiting our office.
Check out these pro tips to make oral health a fuss-free priority in your household.
Educate Your Kids On The Importance of Dental Hygiene
Dr. Bass’s father was a dentist, so maintaining good dental hygiene as a child was second nature to her. She grew up knowing why it was necessary to brush, floss, and have a professional examine her teeth regularly.
It felt easy and uncomplicated.
We know not everybody has that luxury, so we understand that educating your kids about the importance of dental hygiene might seem intimidating. But it can be fun for both you and your child. Present it in a positive way, and your child will be excited to participate. Teach them to be proud to take care of their smile, and it will likely save some stress for everyone when it’s time for dental appointments later.
Books and videos are excellent and fun resources for teaching dental care for kids. We suggest taking your child to the library to choose some books about oral health or searching youtube for kid-friendly videos about going to the dentist.
One of Dr. Bass’s favorite books for teaching young children about their teeth is Sugarbug Doug by Dr. Ben Magleby. We also love I Lost My Tooth! by Mo Willems, Tooth by Leslie Patricelli, and What Happens When I Go To The Dentist? by Lisa Idzikowski. There are dozens of dental health-related titles available, many featuring popular characters like Daniel Tiger, Peppa Pig, and Arthur.
Sesame Street is chock full of segments about teeth and dental health—great resources whether you’re looking for a classic from the ‘70s or a newer spin on oral hygiene. There’s even an entire episode of Elmo’s World dedicated to teeth and visiting the dentist.
Schedule Regular Dentist Appointments
Be proactive about scheduling dentist appointments for your child. Their first visit should occur well before they have a cavity or a dental emergency. Easing your young ones into the process helps alleviate anxiety and dispel the mystery of what could happen at the dentist’s office.
Your child’s first dentist appointment should happen once their first baby tooth comes in but no later than their first birthday. At this appointment, the dentist gently examines your child’s erupting teeth and jaw development. You will probably sit in the chair with your child during the examination to make them feel more at ease. Ensuring your child feels safe and comfortable in the dental chair is the top priority during the first appointment.
Starting at around age two, your child should see the dentist twice a year. These semi-annual visits allow the dentist to monitor the development of your child’s baby teeth and jaw as they grow. Regular visits also help the dentist prevent early tooth decay or troubleshoot tooth misalignment resulting from thumbsucking or pacifier use.
As your kiddo gets older, you may want to schedule their semi-annual appointments to line up with the school year calendar—but keep in mind that Dr. Bass’s schedule fills up quickly at the end of the school year and when school begins again in the fall. Plan ahead so your child knows what to expect and so we can get you on our calendar!
Make Tooth Brushing and Flossing Fun
Kids can have fun doing pretty much anything…including brushing and flossing! Here are a few ways to make their dental care routine more enjoyable.
Reward Your Child's Good Oral Health Behavior
Everyone loves a reward! When kids feel proud of and acknowledged for their accomplishments, they’re more likely to continue the good behavior.
A brushing/flossing chart (like this series from the American Dental Association) can be a fun way for your child to keep track of their daily hygiene. Filling in the chart with cool stickers earned for a well-done job may be reward enough! You may also consider offering an extra privilege like additional screen time, pizza night, or a new book as an incentive for completing the chart.
Other dental hygiene-related rewards might include allowing your child to pick out their own toothbrush holder or a fancy new toothbrush and wacky-flavored toothpaste.
Positive reinforcement goes a long way, especially when it comes to maintaining good dental hygiene.
We hope that these pointers help make guiding your child’s dental health a little bit easier. Through education, consistency, and a bit of fun coupled with an exciting reward system, your kids will become comfortable managing their oral hygiene into adulthood.
Family dentistry is at the heart of our practice. We’re here to work with patients of all ages to ensure their teeth are healthy for a lifetime. If you want to know more about maintaining a brilliant smile, book an appointment today with Bass Dentistry.
If dental health is important to you and your family, take steps to know how to keep your gums healthy. Gum health is essential to maintaining healthy teeth and overall good dental hygiene. Brush and floss multiple times per day, avoid tobacco products, and use a therapeutic mouthwash.
If you want to know more about maintaining a healthy smile, book an appointment today with Bass Dentistry.