Your Visit to the Dentist Should be Fun
The visit to the dentist is normally viewed as painful and uncomfortable. Parents unknowingly transmit to their children these unfounded fears or their own fears, if they had bad memories themselves.
Children are influenced by their parents. The media and peers do not have a greater influence in children than their parents. During their early years, all those bits of opinions that parents constantly repeat to their children lay the foundation for their general attitude toward certain issues, like going to the dentist. Especially in regards to expectations and other habits and behaviors. This includes fears and attitudes towards visiting the dentist.
Plan to make the visit to the dentist more enjoyable at least six months in advance. Sounds farfetched? In all fairness is a lifetime of preparation called good oral habits.
Good experiences with the dentist promote a livelihood of good dental care in the adult years. Good oral habits is the best legacy one could leave for the family. Sound dental care calls for health and wealth.
Make it a Family Project to Have a Happy Mouth!
Steps to Make Sure Your Children Enjoy Their Visit to the Dentist
1. Talk to your children about the importance of good dental care, stressing it especially at bedtime. The mouth remains closed for 6 to 10 hours during bedtime, allowing for ample growth of bacteria. Going to bed with food particles is not the way to prepare for that visit to dentist. Allow extra time at bedtime for them to brush their teeth properly.
2. Include flossing as part of this routine. Those little hands might not be skillful enough to handle flossing with dexterity. Practice makes perfect. What matters is that you are helping them form a habit, skill will follow in time.
3. Fancy is not necessary. There is no need to spend in expensive toothbrushes, as long as they are soft-bristled, takes a hand to make it work. Avoid fancy characters, take this as a moment to teach them about frugality. Why buy a $4.00 toothbrush when a cheaper one works out just as fine?
4. Drink soda no more. Carbonated drinks not only contain an ultra high level of sugar, but is an acid. Children are at a higher risk of contracting cancer and other diseases by drinking soda, plus it lowers their immune system. Zero Pepsi, zero Coca-Cola and the like.
5. Lower sugar intake. Candies and sweets as well need to be rationed. Replace sugar by nuts or fruits. Healthy eating habits promote a good oral care. Note: do not make a big deal out of this. If you project this like a big issue, it is. If you are the one getting the groceries, you have the upper hand. They will end up eating what’s in the fridge. Sound oral habits start where any good diet starts, shopping for groceries. More fruits and veggies, less soda and candies. Ice cream is OK, just make it special and make sure they brush their teeth right after.
6. Water. Soda had gradually replaced water in everyday consumption. Water needs to be restored to its throne as the main source of hydration. Make water the first thing your children have in the morning, and the last thing they have before going to bed. Water is the main part of a healthy mouth.
7. Tell good dentist stories. Visit family and friends and make it a point to have a conversation about their visit to the dentist (check beforehand that is in fact a positive story). Stress out how these friends and relatives took care of their teeth so they had a positive experience. Then contrast with other no happy ending stories and how bad dental habits contributed to the bad experience at the dentist.
8. Focus on the results. Emphasize on how good they are going to feel about themselves for taking good care of their teeth and gums.
9. Small rewards. Those dollars saved on toothbrushes could be used for small rewards or a special family outing after their visit to the dentist. Make it a special occasion! If they passed their visit with no cavities and flying colors, treat it as a 100% in Math or Science!
10. Bring them to the dentist before the appointment. Introduce your children to the staff if available and give them a small tour of the area. The staff will be thrilled to have them over because you are making their job a lot easier. If they have the time, have them, or the receptionist, explain to the children what they should be expecting that day and use this opportunity to have the experts tell the children how important it is to brush between meals.
Hip Hip Hooray for Good Oral Habits!
Good Oral Habits is Linked to Social Status
Want your children to climb up the social ladder? Make sure they floss and take good care their teeth and gums. Social inequality is constantly reported as a barrier to dental care worldwide. If you were born outside of Sweden, for example, with low educational level and no cash margin, there is a high probability to grow up with a chewing problem.
In the United Kingdom there is a direct relationship between oral care and socio-economic class (moreover related to education). Barriers to dental health care and income are directly related. Disparities are the same for Europe and India.
Racial issues portray another matter, a survey conducted in 2003-2004 among 102,353 children among 0-17 years showed that only 6% white, 7% African American and 21% Latinos were uninsured. Of these, 90% whites, had better access to dental care, compared to 77% African American and 68% Latinos.
In India, among the barriers for proper dental care are: 1) Inadequate government policies 2) Money 3) Lack of appointment schedules 4) Dental offices location 5) Myths and fear about dental treatment.
The worst consequence about fear of going to the dentist is inaction that results in real reasons to fear. Preventive and routine dental care is key to have a pleasant visit to the dentist. If your children or the household doesn't have good dental care habits, chances are the child will indeed see those fulfilled prophecies come true.
On the other hand, is the family embarks on the life mission of taking care of their teeth and gums, the visit to the dentist will be a breeze. On that note, make sure the dentist is not only good at his job, but has a pleasant personality. After all, if he is going to be that close to you, you should consider him part of the family.