5 tips to prevent your child from developing a dental phobia

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We too often hear of people going years without visiting a dentist due to Dental Phobia’s. Even when they finally pluck up the courage to get themselves seen it’s because they are in immense pain and by this stage are in need of comprehensive dental treatment. I’m sure you won’t be too surprised when I tell you that children are not born with Dental Phobia. A “phobia” of any kind is described as an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something. Much like other phobias, dental phobia is something that can develop due to a number of causes. Here are 5 tips to help prevent your child from developing a dental phobia:

Early introduction to the dental environment

The Australian Dental Association recommends that a child first attends the dentist when their first tooth has erupted- usually around their first birthday. At this age we recommend that children attend an appointment with mum or dad so they can start to become familiar with the dental environment and not be too startled when it’s their turn.

Regular Dental Visits

This can be different for everyone but generally your dentist will recommend you visit once a year for a full check up and a dental clean. By keeping up with regular dental visits you give your kid’s the best chance of avoiding the need for any invasive dental treatment. If there are any issues, they can often be detected early and treatment therefore a lot more straightforward.

Prevention is better cure

Start practicing good oral hygiene habits from an early age. Practice brushing twice a day and educate kid’s on good and bad foods for your teeth. There are some great resources on you tube with two minute tooth brushing videos for kid’s so they get in a full two minutes of brushing. Dental visits are always more pleasant if no treatment is required.

Dental Legends (Also known as Paediatric Specialist Dentists)

Sometimes despite our best efforts dental treatment is still required. This does not necessarily mean we have done anything wrong, there can be lots of reasons for the requirement of dental treatment including trauma. If there is a fair bot of dental treatment required it is often best to see a dental paediatric specialist. Their clinic’s are always set up to be very child friendly and are well equipped to provide sedation options. There are huge benefits to be had from having dentistry under sedation at a young age. The main one being they won’t remember it and will have have no ongoing negative connotations towards dentist.

Keep it Positive

One of the main causes of phobia’s is “learned responses”. Therefore if you have a dental phobia yourself be careful not to let it rub off. You can do this by keeping your language around visiting the dentist positive. Rather than painting the dentist as the big baddie who will tell you off for not brushing your teeth; try making it exciting. “Let’s keep your teeth nice and clean so we can show the dentist how good you are at brushing your teeth”. The dentist is like a doctor for your teeth, if any of your teeth are sick the dentist is there to help them get better. Keeping language positive will help to avoid kid’s associating “fear” with “the dentist”.

So what are you waiting for, bring the kid’s with you to your next dental visit and let’s raise kids who are educated and motivated to have great oral health!