Going to the dentist can be intimidating, especially to a child. In a previous post Rudy (and The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) recommend the first dental visit should occur within six months of the baby’s first tooth and no later than their first birthday. But how does a child (and their parent) prepare for this important dental visit? Here are Rudy’s 5 Recommendations for making their appointment run smoothly.
Not all dentists have the same training. Pediatric dentists (like Dr. John and Zach Bozic) have received 2-3 years of advanced training to specifically handle working with children, teens, young adults, and those with special needs.
These pediatric specialists have the techniques and team members tailored to keep your child calm and comfortable during their appointment.
It’s never too early to start healthy habits! Parents should explain the importance of oral health, even to their young children. Something as simple as fixing a healthy, low-sugar meal and practicing brushing/flossing can have a significant impact on the child’s first visit.
From reading encouraging stories about visiting the dentist (Rudy has an upcoming blog post on some good books!) to letting them pretend/act out their first dental appointment, parents should help engage their child’s creativity regarding dental visits.
YOU are your child’s biggest role model. Having a regular brushing/flossing regimen as well as a diet free from sugary snacks/sodas can lay a solid foundation for you child's oral health.
In addition, regardless of your previous experience at the dentist, speak positively about their upcoming visit - it can make a big difference in how they perceive and ultimately handle the appointment.
Most kids have questions. Who is going to be there? What are they going to do? Is it going to hurt? The more you and your child talk about the dentist, the more chances you have to reassure and resolve hesitations before they are in the chair.
Rudy has new kids coming to visit Pediatric Dentistry West everyday and we want to make your visit as stress-free as possible. If there is anything we can do to help make the experience more enjoyable, please do not hesitate to call!
What are healthy snacks?
Eating healthy and nutritious snacks are not only good for your overall health, but a few of of them can actually help your teeth while you are eating them! Eating raw fruits like apples, pears, pineapple and oranges are great examples of healthy fruits that are good for your teeth. Raw vegetables like broccoli, celery, carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes are also really good you and your teeth! Below are even more examples of healthy snacks but not necessarily great for your teeth which means always brush after eating them!
Fresh fruits and raw vegetables
Milk and dairy products
Meat, nuts and seeds
(these snacks combine foods from the different groups)
Rudy Says..."Eating healthy snack are good for your teeth!"
What's wrong with sugary snacks, anyway?
Sugary snacks taste so good — but they aren't so good for your teeth or your body. The candies, cakes, cookies and other sugary foods that kids love to eat between meals can cause tooth decay. Some sugeray foods have a lot of fat in them, too. Kids who consume sugary snacks eat many different kinds of sugar every day, including table sugar (sucrose) and corn sweeteners (fructose). Starchy snacks can also break down into sugars once they're in your mouth.
How do sugars attack your teeth?
Invisible germs called bacteria live in your mouth all the time. Some of these bacteria form a sticky material called plaque on the surface of the teeth. When you put sugar in your mouth, the bacteria in the plaque gobble up the sweet stuff and turn it into acids. These acids are powerful enough to dissolve the hard enamel that covers your teeth. That's how cavities get started. If you don't eat much sugar, the bacteria can't produce as much of the acid that eats away enamel.
Rudy Says..."See you on your first birthday!"
Your Child's First Dental Visit...
The American Dental Association, The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and Rudy all agree that the first dental visit should occur within six months after the baby's first tooth appears, but no later than the child's first birthday. It’s best to meet the dentist when your child is having no dental problems—don't wait until an emergency comes up.
Why schedule a visit so early?
Just like a well-baby visit with your pediatrician, it’s equally important that you help us show you how to clean your child's teeth, discuss diet and fluoride needs and recommend oral care products so we can answer your questions about your baby's teeth and check for problems, such as tooth decay. Having a well-baby checkup at this age also connects your child with us early on so we can get to know your them and your family's specific needs and therefore provide the best care possible. If your child is a toddler, we of course will gently examine their teeth and gums, and look for decay and other problems and If necessary perform a light cleaning. Your toddler can also be checked for problems related to habits such as prolonged thumb or finger sucking.
Two more important ways we can prevent cavities include fluoride treatments and dental sealants, including a coating that protects the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. We will let you know if these treatments are right for your child.
Each child has different oral health needs, but it's almost always true that preventive care from can save time, money and most importantly...your child’s teeth!
Tips for a Positive Dental Visit
Some of the topics we will discuss with you and your child include but are not limited to:
OK...that should be enough information now! We look forward to seeing you here at Pediatric Dentistry West in Indianapolis!
We all know one of those necessary life skills every child needs to learn is brushing his or her teeth. Helping your child get in the habit of brushing twice a day for two minutes is no small feat, but a little creativity can go a long way when it comes to his or her long-term dental health.
Have 4 Minutes of Fun!
Don’t just set a timer and supervise – make brushing twice a day for two minutes an event! Crank up your child’s favorite song and have a two-minute dance party! Videos or brushing apps may also make that time fly by. (Younger brushers might like these.)
Try reading a 2-minute story using all your best voices. Whatever you do, get creative and switch things up so brushing time is always a good time!
Start a Routine and Stick to It
You may be tempted to let your child skip brushing after a long day or during times when your normal schedule is off (like vacation), but keep at it. The more second nature brushing becomes the easier it will be to make sure your child is brushing twice a day for two minutes.
Reward Good Brushing Behavior
What motivates your child? If its stickers, make a reward chart and let him add one every time he brushes. If he’s a reader, let him pick out the bedtime story. Maybe it’s as simple as asking to see that healthy smile, saying “I’m so proud of you” and following up with a huge high five.
Who is the character your child can’t get enough of? Many children’s shows and books, including Sesame Street, have stories about brushing. Watch and read them together, so when it’s time to brush you can use that character as a good example.
Make Up a Story
Haven’t found a story or character to inspire your child? Make up your own or you could consider something about...uhm...me...Rudy the super dog! 🙂 Your child and I can be the superhero’s who can brush away the bad guys that cause cavities!
Let your child pick out his own toothbrush and toothpaste. (We recommend ones with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.) Choosing a character toothbrush might make brushing more fun, and fluoride toothpastes come in a variety of flavors and colors.
Make Brushing a Family Affair
Your children learn from you, so set a good example. The family that brushes together has even more reason to smile.
Whatever you do...make it fun...be creative and stay consistent and we will see you soon to check on your progress here at Pediatric Dentistry West!
- Rudy out! 🙂