(Long Island, NY) Each February, the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. Taking your child to the dentist is key to a healthy smile and if your child is scared to go, there are ways to soothe their anxiety. Parents play a key role in helping their children have a fun visit to the dentist, explains Dr. Tanny Josen D.D.S., Pediatric Dental Specialist at Great Neck & Mid-Island Dental Associates.
“Children can perceive their parents anxiety prior to dental visits, which will make them more fearful. Tell your children that the dentist is their friend and wants to help them have a healthy mouth.”
When parents talk about going to the dentist, they should not use words that would scare the child, such as needle, hurt, injection, shot, or drill, says Josen. These are words that would set the children off.
“As pediatric dentists, we use child friendly words that are accepting to the children without causing any fear. Another way parents can help their children cope with going to the dentist is to bring their children to watch when they go to the dentist or better yet, watch their older siblings,” he says. “Showing the child that people have fun at the dentist is a wonderful method of approach.”
What are the top three ways parents can help promote healthy habits at home? You probably know this already but I will list Josen’s expert advice below as a reminder. “Your kids will thank you for setting them on the right path,” he says. “A majority of the tooth decay that I see could have been prevented, at an early age, if parents followed these three simple points.”
- As many know, at-home oral health care is the foundation for a healthy mouth; brushing and flossing, twice daily, is imperative for good oral hygiene. Teaching a child this basic routine at a young age will instill good oral care habits well into adulthood. Parents should also lead by example.
- Parents should limit sugary, sticky foods and drinks to help prevent tooth decay. They should also teach their children at a young age to make good food choices as a balanced, healthy diet is vital for a child’s overall health.
- By scheduling regular dental check-ups and cleanings every six months, kids will learn that taking care of their oral health is important.
Great Neck & Mid-Island Dental Associates is a multidisciplinary practice, offering a full spectrum of general and cosmetic dentistry services including periodontics, orthodontics, porcelain veneers and IV sedation dentistry. In addition, the office has a state of the art pediatric division called Kid Island Dental, providing excellent care for children and ensuring each child has the most comfortable visit possible. For more information, please visit www.greatneckdentalassociates.com