Dreading The Dentist? How Parents Can Help Their Toddlers Embrace Good Dental Health
The toddler years are filled with new discoveries as a child's increased mobility helps them strike out on their own and explore new experiences. For most toddlers, some of these new experiences are likely to include learning about daily dental care needs and making periodic visits to their pediatric dentist. While some toddlers welcome these experiences with open arms, others may be much more reluctant to embrace them. If your toddler is one of the reluctant ones and you are worried that their future dental health may be affected, the following tips can help.
Make daily dental care into a beloved routine
Toddlers love and look forward to activities that are fun. Parents can use this fact to give the daily brushing and flossing routine more of a game-like feeling for their children. Some good ideas for doing this include:
- playing a special song that is reserved for use during the daily dental care routines
- using a special toothpaste for children that has a color or packaging that your child loves
- outfitting them with a colorful electric toothbrush that they enjoy using
It is also important that children feel comfortable and secure while learning to brush and floss. Parents can accomplish this by outfitting the bathroom with a special, sturdy stepping stool for their child and by staying in the room and doing their own brushing and flossing routine while their child does theirs.
Take away the mystery of the dental office
Toddlers are growing braver, but they may still be frightened in unfamiliar locations. Parents can help to make the pediatric dental office into a familiar place by taking their child to visit once or twice before the date of their first appointment. Exploring the waiting room, meeting the staff, and seeing other children in a happy setting can help your toddler feel more at home there when the time arrives for them to have their own appointment.
Make the day a special one
Parents can also help to ensure their toddlers will be more willing to learn good daily dental care habits and look forward to seeing their pediatric dentist by making dentist appointments into a special day, complete with a reward for good behavior. Toddlers who are able to associate their dental care appointments with something pleasant like an hour at the park or a trip to the library will be more likely to have a positive attitude toward good dental care throughout their life.
For additional tips on encouraging a toddler to embrace dental health, parents should speak to a pediatric dentist.