Let’s be honest, a trip to the dentist is rarely fun for us adults, so what must children, and especially, very young children make of it all. Walking into a sterile room while a stranger prods around in their mouth.
It’s no wonder that children start dreading the dentist from a young age, and can be affected more if a parent has a strong negative reaction to appointments.
However, starting your children out on the right path when it comes to their dental care or oral hygiene can save them a lot of pain and worry later, through puberty and into adulthood.
That’s why our specialist team will do all they can to make sure you and your family have a warm welcome and relaxing, comfortable experience when they visit us here at Bridge Street Dental Surgery.
Read on for some top tips on how to give your child the best possible start to their oral health.
How do children’s teeth differ from adult’s teeth?
Aside from the aesthetic differences between adult and milk teeth, children’s teeth are much softer and have a thinner layer of enamel which means that they are far more susceptible to bacteria - which can cause tooth decay and cavities.
When your child eats, a certain amount of harm is caused to the gum. By looking after their teeth from an early age you’ll be doing your best to prevent further damage.
You might think that because they’re not permanent, milk teeth aren’t that important but you’d be wrong. Not only do they protect their gums, they also act as ‘spacers’ until the permanent teeth are ready to break through.
If baby teeth are lost before the permanent teeth are ready it can lead to spatial problems and your child will struggle once the adult teeth do start to come through.
Far from being less important, your childrens’ teeth are the bedrock for future development so it’s essential to adopt a good oral health routine as soon as you can.
When should I take my child to the dentist for the first time?
Prevention is better than cure, so the earlier you expose your child to professional dental care, the more likely they are to adopt a healthy oral care routine and the less likely they are to develop problems such as gum disease in the future.
You should introduce your youngsters to the family dentist from around the age of 1 year old, or within 6 months of their first tooth - whichever is sooner.
Not only will these regular sessions ensure your child has healthy teeth and gums, but the dentist will also be able to notice any signs of problems much earlier.
How often should my child see a dentist?
As a rule, children should see the dentists every 6 months, the same as adults.
Your dentist may suggest more regular appointments, such as every 3 months as this can help build confidence and reduce anxiety in them. It can also help keep on top of any developmental concerns.
What can I do to make the dentist less scary for my child?
One of the most important things you can do to make a trip to the dentist seem less scary for your child is to stay calm yourself. Projecting any fears or concerns that you may have onto your child will make them mirror your actions and feelings. So try to stay calm and keep any feelings of fear or anxiety away from them.
Setting a positive mood for the upcoming appointment will only ever result in a more positive experience for both you and your child.
If they are scared or worried, then take their feelings on board and discuss it with them. Accepting their feelings as a normal reaction is far healthier than ignoring them or brushing them off.
Equipping your child with as much information as they need is also important. However, it’s important to be realistic; promising it won’t hurt when there’s a possibility it could, can lead to future trust issues.
Explain what they can expect when they arrive and you can also equip your dentist with some information about your child beforehand.
If the dentist knows that your child loves football and Paw Patrol, this can help them start conversations and break down boundaries at their first meeting.
And be sure to reward their bravery after the appointment.
Using play time can also help reduce their anxiety. Lots of kids like to play doctors, so why not dentists? Have them perform a check up on a toy - or even you. Play is a great way to normalise experiences that can be anxiety inducing.
Discover our children’s membership plan
Understanding your children’s dental care and how it can affect their future is of vital importance.
Choosing Bridge Street Dental Surgery will lay a solid foundation for the future of your child’s wellbeing.
Our team strives to ensure your whole family receives the best care and the most relaxing, welcoming environment to put you at ease. Of course, the more you and your children visit us, the more comfortable you’ll become and that’s part of the reason why we include children in our monthly membership plan.
They can have access to private dental care from just £5.50 per month so if you’d like to learn more and give your little ones the best possible start of their oral health, click here or speak to a member of our team on your next visit.