Comfort your children though a dental appointment by explaining what is happening and making them feel relaxed and safe. Regular check-ups will help your children grow more at ease with dental visits and teach them good practices as they grow up.
By Norah Myers
Start young. Even before the first tooth appears, wipe your child’s gums with a soft cloth every day. Sing a song about teeth brushing or turn it into a game, and reinforce the idea that having clean teeth feels good.
First visit. Your children should visit the dentist before the age of one year, or when their first tooth appears. Find a paediatric dentist that caters to infants, toddlers, older children and teenagers. Try to visit the dentist every six months so that a comfortable routine is in place.
Schedule early visits. Visit the dentist at a time when your children are likely to be rested and cooperative. They won’t have time to over-think the experience if it is scheduled for early in the day.
Listen. Let your children express any fears or concerns they have before your visit. Encourage them to ask questions during the appointment if they are nervous.
Practice good habits at home. Make sure your children regularly brush and floss their teeth, and set a good example yourself.
Teeth grinding. If your child grinds his or her teeth and, as a result, has a sore jaw or experience headaches, your dentist can make your child a mouth guard to wear at night. A mouth guard will prevent grinding, and therefore reduce any associated pain and discomfort.
X-rays in children
Children begin having dental X-rays at around the age of six years. Good news! Today, many dentists now use digital radiography, which can reduce the amount of radiation by up to 80 per cent. X-rays help dental professionals monitor the growth and health of teeth and gums, and check that the child’s bite is correct. They can also show up any concerns that are not visible during a regular check-up.