Many parents are guilty of using dentists as a means frighten kids into behaving. How often have we heard of parents who sort of use trips to the dentist as a form of punishment for unruly kids? While instilling discipline to the young is of utmost importance, using the dentist as a tool to blackmail them is among the biggest mistakes parents can make. Why so? Everyone, either young or old need regular trips to the dentist. Dental cleaning, cavity treatment, tooth removal, re-alignment and so on, all of these are services that only a dentist can provide, and we may need them in the future. Contrary to kids’ belief, a dentist is actually only who can make dental pains go away, and this is a fact that parents must make their kids realise. Of course, it may not be as easy in action is it is in the paper, here are a few tips to make your child appreciate if not anticipate trips to the dentist.
- Don’t scare them – yes, you can start by not making them feel as if a trip to the dentist is a just punishment for something they did wrong. Do not start a culture of fear, instead explain the importance of a healthy set of teeth and how a dentist can help achieve it.
- Start them young – Just as every great athlete needs conditioning, so does your child when it comes to dental anxiety. While they are still innocent and unassuming, take them with you to your dental trips and make them enjoy the day by giving them a treat afterwards. Don’t overdo the treats though as your dentist may pan you for that.
- Do it regularly – and speaking of dental trips, it is not enough to bring them one or two times. Make it regular, make them feel at home while in the clinic or waiting area. Choose a gregarious dentist if you have to, or someone who spends time decorating their clinic to entice kids. The bottom line is they need to feel at home.
- Use literature – Nursery rhymes, bedtime stories or anything similar. Kids love anything colourful and exciting and literature can translate to that. Use stories that promote dental well-being or at least introduces dentists as friends, not punishers.
- Communicate – Just as previously and commonly mentioned earlier, you must talk to your kids and instil in them the importance of great dental health, and the role that dentists play in it. What better way to make a child comfortable than a parent-child talk.
- Lead by example – The best way to teach is to show them how to do it. Be caring and protective of your teeth and make sure your child or children see it. It is not uncommon for kids to idolise their parents. Once dental care in engrained in them. They will surely appreciate the help that any dentist can provide.