Teaching Kids about Dental Care
Q: How can I get my child interested in his teeth and dental care?
A: As with many things, it is best to start teaching children about their teeth and dental care at a young age. During infancy, it is important to let your child watch as you brush and floss your own teeth. Children model their behavior after their parents’ behavior, so it is important to set a good example. Also be sure to develop a routine for your child’s dental home care that you follow each day. Over time your child will learn how to care for her teeth through repetition of that routine. During the toddler years, books and songs are terrific ways to teach children about dental care and the dentist. Role playing games where your child gets to play “dentist” are also a fun way to learn about dental care. However, try to avoid using any negative language when talking about dental care. Even saying, “Don’t worry, Sally, it won’t hurt!” makes Sally wonder if her dental care will be painful. At our office, we recently welcomed several kindergarten and first grade classes from area schools for a tour of our facility. The children had a wonderful time with their hands-on experiences and learned a great deal about what happens during a visit to the dentist. One parent told me that her son spent an extra long time brushing his teeth after visiting our office that day! Remember, going to the dentist should be fun for kids. When you teach them about dentistry in a fun way, they will remember it for the rest of their lives.