Staying on top of everything your kids need can feel like a near-impossible feat, and it’s easy to sweep a few tasks under the rug. But managing their oral hygiene is a must! Our very own Dr. Meg Ling has a few tips for preparing your kiddos for those ever-important youth dental visits.
Early Bird Gets the Great Oral Hygiene
The later your child begins regularly seeing the dentist, the harder it becomes to prevent onset cavities or infections. When dental professionals are first examining a 1-year-old child’s mouth, the experience is vastly different than when they first examine a 4-year-old child’s mouth, Dr. Meg explains. She recommends bringing children in for their first appointment when they are about 1 year old. The dentist can then establish a good baseline for your child’s smile, and they will be less likely to fear those biannual appointments as they get older.
The element of surprise is a tool many parents use to convince their children to do a daunting task. However, this tactic isn’t the best option for the dentist. Your child is going to be naturally curious as they age, so answer their questions, quench those anxieties, and avoid future dental distress by explaining that the dentist wants to take pictures of their teeth (X-rays), count their teeth (regular checkups), and keep their chompers clean (brushing and polishing).
Sweet, Sweet Victory
When it comes to parenting, the ultimate win is when your child is capable of doing daily tasks on their own. If they can put on their pajamas, put their toys away, and pack their backpacks for school, you’re a parenting champion! But when it comes to oral hygiene, don’t be so quick to kick them out of the nest. Dr. Meg recommends brushing your child’s teeth and monitoring oral hygiene habits until they are in junior high school. You cannot expect children under the age of 10 to thoroughly clean their teeth enough to avoid tooth decay. (Check out how messy their bedroom is if you want proof!)
Don’t fret about taking your kids to the dentist! Dr. Meg and our dental professionals can help you and your family get the smiles you all deserve!