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Six Tips for Getting Your Toddler to the Dentist’s Office

As a parent, you may be grappling with how to cope with your child’s fears about the dentist. Dental anxiety is not uncommon in children, and that’s why it’s crucial to find a dentist you trust. Set your child on the path to a healthy smile by following the tips below!

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Why Children Dentistry Is a Must 

According to the Canadian Dental Association, children should make their first trip to the dentist by 12 months or within six months of the first tooth appearing. Regularly scheduling dentist appointments for your child can help prevent cavities, bad breath and even more severe oral health issues. Taking your child to a dentist at an early age is crucial to ensure they are on the right path to developing healthy oral habits for life. 

How to Lessen Dental Anxiety in Your Toddler 

Anxiety is a multisystem response of the body to a perceived threat. When children have anxiety, they are experiencing a combination of biochemical changes in the body associated with their memory and social environment. By helping your child develop a positive view of the dentist, you’re lowering their chances of developing a fear-filled memory — this decreases their likelihood of experiencing dental anxiety in the future. 

Sometimes adults are a little nervous when visiting the dentist — imagine being a kid! To lessen dental anxiety in your toddler, try these tips:

  • Read positive dentistry books: Read storybooks about trips to the dentist to your child, like “What to Expect When You Go to the Dentist,” by Heidi Murkoff and “Just Going to the Dentist,” by Mercer Mayer.
  • Be transparent about upcoming visits: Let your child know about any forthcoming dental visits to give them time to mentally prepare. Answer any questions your child may have with straightforward answers while limiting the number of details.
  • Role-play at home: Role-play with your child at home about the dentist’s office. Pretend dentist visits will set your child’s mind at ease before the actual event.
  • Tell positive stories about the dentist: Avoid words like “hurt” or “needles” when telling your child stories about the dentist.  
  • Educate your child on the importance of healthy teeth: Tell your child that healthy teeth mean a bright smile — this is a great way to instill a sense of urgency when it comes to dental hygiene. Monitor your child while they’re brushing their teeth until they are old enough to remove plaque properly.
  • Take your child to the dentist at an early age: When children are young, they think everything is exciting. Taking your child to the dentist by the time they reach 12 months old is an excellent way to establish a positive relationship between your child and their dentist. 

Find a Kid’s Dentist Near You

At Dental Choice, we strive to offer compassionate care for the entire family — and kids are no exception. Whether you live in or near Edmonton or Calgary, Dental Choice wants you to benefit from optimal oral health.

If you’re an adult, we recommend visiting a family dental clinic every three to six months for a professional cleaning. The frequency of cleanings will depend on your individual health needs. Regular dental visits are essential because a professional can remove excess plaque and tartar buildup. During a dental cleaning, a dentist can also screen for early signs of problems such as fractures and broken fillings.

Contact Dental Choice with any questions or request an appointment today!

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