Hughes Family DentalWhether your toddler has a mouth filled with teeth or only a few poking through, it’s time to start thinking about keeping his/her adorable smile healthy. There are a few steps to help your child achieve a lifetime of good oral health. First, teach your toddler to brush their teeth at least twice a day (use non fluoridated toothpaste until your toddler knows how to spit out the paste completely). Next, book the child’s first dentist appointment — if you haven’t already.

But before you assume that getting your toddler into the dentist’s chair will involve either a tantrum or bribery, remember that your child doesn’t harbor any ill will toward his first dentist — yet. For him, his first dentist appointment could be as much fun as a stop at the local amusement park (the chair goes up and down, back and forth!). Here are a few tips for a successful first dental visit:

  • Schedule your child’s first visit between age 1 and 3, sooner if you notice any visible problems.
  • If possible, schedule a morning appointment when children tend to be rested and cooperative.
  • Stay positive! The dentist will help to keep your child’s teeth healthy; keep any anxiety that you might feel about dental visits to your self.
  • Never use negative words when discussing dental visits (pain, hurt, ache). Even if you say, “It doesn’t hurt,” this may instill the possibility of pain in the child’s thought process.
  • Let your child enjoy his first dental visit with the same enthusiasm as a visit to Grandma’s (without the candy, of course).
  • Never bribe your child to go to the dentist or use the visit as a punishment or threat!
  • Finally, try to make your child’s dental visit an enjoyable outing. Teaching your child good oral hygiene habits early can lead to a lifetime of good dental health.