First time parents, or parents whose kids are entering school, often feel like they have a lot to adapt to and figure out. To provide value alongside February’s Dental Health Awareness Month, here are some tips for parents in some of the scenarios that arise most often.
Your Child’s First Dental Appointment
You can schedule a first dental appointment for your child as soon as their first tooth starts coming in. The pediatric dentist can check on the tooth to make sure it’s healthy and erupting smoothly. It’s also a great opportunity for parents to ask questions about caring for a baby’s new teeth as they come in, and what to expect.
It can be a nervous experience for parents, understandably, especially when they aren’t sure how their baby will react to the experience.
We recommend keeping the experience positive from the outset that day, including bringing your child’s favorite toys in the car and listening to their favorite songs on the way.
Apart from a quick exam of your child’s teeth, the purpose of this first visit is for the dentist to introduce themselves and the team, and to get to know your child a bit. Having a positive experience in this way makes future dentist visits easier, and something we love to do since most of our patients visit our office throughout all their growing years right up till adulthood.
Tips For A Safer and More Organized School Year
- If your child will be participating in sports this year, invest in a quality mouth guard to protect their teeth — both baby teeth and permanent ones. We’ve also talked about differences between mouth guards and night guards here.
- To avoid unnecessary absences to accommodate dental appointments throughout the year, create a list of all the days school will be closed. Those can be holidays and any other closures. This can help you coordinate with the dental office and schedule visits for those days whenever possible.
- Decide on healthy lunch options on advance and buy a reliable variety you can pack efficiently and regularly. Being deliberate about these foods make having enough on hand simple, and discourages bad habits that impulse buys due to not being sure what to get create.
- Look for sales out toothbrushes. Soft bristles are usually ideal, and if you notice a good price, stock up on enough brushes to change them out every 3 months. This way, you won’t have to take whatever you can find at the time later if you are suddenly in need of a new brush.
Tips For Tooth Brushing Habits
Just like with the dental visit, there are ways to make brushing a fun habit and far easier to do every day. One method that’s worked for plenty of families is to use a tooth brushing song kids can hum along to while they brush. Ideally, it’s a song that’s a little over a minute long and serves as entertainment as well as a timer to ensure they’ve brushed long enough.
Here are a few ideas for songs your children can sing.
Children also learn through play, and it can be fun to select their favorite stuffed animal and have them pretend to brush its teeth. This reinforces the importance of doing it, and allows them to practice technique.
While it’s wise to supervise brushing for the first few years of your child’s life after their teeth come in, eventually they’ll want to be more independent. Often, children are eager to prove their independence, which is an opportunity to let them start brushing alone and develop the habit further.