How to Combat Dental Anxiety in Your Children

A common occurrence, dental anxiety can be crippling for adults, causing them to delay dental visits or treatment. As many people learn the hard way, delaying dental care can ultimately lead to more expensive and complicated treatment down the road. 

To prevent dental anxiety in your children, we recommend that you help them start forming good habits early in their lives. In dentistry, we emphasize the importance of prevention! If your child is accustomed to visiting the dentist early on and has positive experiences, they will be less likely to delay visits and care later in their life. 

Here are some ways to combat dental anxiety in your children:

Help your child to develop good habits early on! This can start at home‒build a strong brushing routine with your child. As a rule of thumb, until they can tie their shoes themselves, it is great for you to help them brush. Start brushing early on, and your child will be more acclimated to the feeling of someone else brushing their teeth, which may help them at their early dental visits. Also, schedule a visit to the dentist by age 1, or within 6 months of their first tooth. 

Associate the dentist with fun! If possible, try to do something fun or exciting after dental visits. Go to the park, play on your child’s favorite playground, or plan anything that 

Schedule your child with a pediatric dentist! Pediatric dentists not only have more education in children’s dentistry and experience with children, but their offices are also designed for kids. There are play areas and fun decorations, prizes, and staff who are experienced working with children. 

Talk about the dentist with your child! Emphasize that the dentist is a fun and special experience. Point out to your child that the dentist makes their teeth strong, and gets rid of any sugar bugs. You can even show your child photos of the office and staff, tell them how nice everyone is, and how fun the office is. 

Familiarize your child with the dentist’s office! If your child is still anxious, try bringing them by the office for a toothbrush, or to play in the play area. We always love visitors, and this will create positive associations with the dentist and our office. Furthermore, the next time your child comes in, they will be in a familiar environment. 

5 Ways to Encourage Your Kids to Brush & Floss

     We’ve all had those mornings. You’re running late for work, trying to get everyone out the door, and your little one is fighting you on brushing their teeth. Instilling the importance of proper dental care in children and keeping up a healthy oral hygiene regime can be tough! We’ve compiled a list of 5 fun ways to alleviate some of that brushing and flossing stress. 

1. Create a reward system.

Good oral hygiene is so important to your child’s health, and should be encouraged and rewarded, if necessary! Treat your little one to an extra story before bedtime, or design a prize system. For example, use a sticker chart to keep track of brushing and flossing, and reward your child with a small prize at the end of the month if they’ve done a good job every day.

2. Brush and floss with your child.

Your children are always watching and developing their habits based off of your habits! Let your kids see you prioritizing your dental health– make it a tradition to brush and floss together. You may even find yourself improving your hygiene routine to be a good role model.

3. Make their toothbrush & toothpaste special.

Touches of personalization can be so special for kids! Let your child pick out their toothbrush, and even decorate it with stickers, Rainbow Loom, etc. They can pick out their toothpaste flavor, as well; there is a plethora of fun flavors out there!

4. Play games!

Brushing and flossing do not have to be a chore! Incorporate games into your child’s oral health routine. With apps like Brush DJ and Star Teeth, your kids can keep track of their brushing while enjoying music or following along with their chosen character. Alternatively, you can get creative and come up with a game or competition. Which of your children can make it to the bathroom and finish their 2 minutes of brushing first?

5. Come up with a story.

Why do your children need to brush their teeth? Are there sugar bugs hiding in their teeth? Is your child a superhero who needs to brush away the bad guys? Creating a narrative is a great way to foster engagement in your child!

Dental Health New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year! Here at Clover Kids we are optimistically looking forward to a better year. And what better way to ring in the New Year than by prioritizing your dental health? We’ve compiled a list of dental health resolutions to help you and your children start 2021 off on the right foot. 

  1. Routine dental visits
    This year, schedule 2 dental visits, and keep your appointments! At your routine wellness checks, the dental team can monitor your teeth, gum, and overall oral health. Regular visits to the dentist prevent cavities from growing, and can pinpoint other dental issues for early care. Preventative dental care is much easier and less expensive than restoration!
  2. Improving tooth brushing and flossing habits
    Good brushing and flossing are important in removing plaque, which prevents cavities, and in maintaining excellent gum health. The Clover Kids team is always happy to review brushing and flossing techniques with you and your children. We also know that it can be difficult to motivate children to prioritize their dental health. If your little ones aren’t crazy about brushing or flossing, develop a game or a challenge to get them engaged! 
  3. Start out the year with a fresh toothbrush!
    When was the last time you switched out your toothbrush? We recommend that you switch out your toothbrush every 3-4 months, or when the bristles start to fray or wear down. Over time, bacteria can accumulate on your old toothbrush, which doesn’t make it the best instrument to clean your teeth with!                                               
  4. Incorporate healthier food & beverage choices into your diet
    The more sugar you eat, the more sugar bacteria in your mouth eat! Bacteria then produce acid which weakens your teeth and leads to tooth decay and cavities. Try switching out a soda for a glass of water, and a sugary snack for a vegetable or fruit. A favorite healthy snack of ours is apple slices with a nut butter that’s low in sugar!                                     
  5. Try chewing on sugar-free gum after meals
    Chewing gum helps to generate saliva, which can help clean our teeth of acid produced by bacteria! While chewing gum does not replace brushing and flossing, it can help mitigate tooth decay in conjunction with a solid oral hygiene routine. Added bonus: chewing gum can be exciting for many kids, and an easy habit to implement!

Overall, forming healthy oral hygiene habits is a priority. Particularly for children, forming positive habits while young will instill the skills they need to have a healthy smile their whole life! Not only will solid dental care save you time and money in the long-run, but it will also give you a confident smile for life. So this January, we wish you a year of strong, healthy teeth and lots of smiles 🙂