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Tips for taking your child to the dentist

Going to the dentist can be a stressful time when kids are involved. Although it can be unnerving to have their teeth poked and prodded, regular dental visits are important to help fight dental disease – especially cavities.

In observance of National Children’s Dental Health Month (February), here a few tips to make going to the dentist easier for kids and parents, according to MouthHealthy.org:

1. Plan ahead: Give yourself enough time by making it a habit to call when your child gets her spring report card each year.

2. Encourage age-appropriate dental habits at home: Parents should encourage kids to brush twice a day for two minutes and floss once a day.

3. Timing is everything: Time of day can make or break your child’s appointment. For younger kids, don’t schedule an appointment during nap time. For older children, avoid cramming in an appointment right after school.

4. A hungry child is not a happy patient: Feed your child a light meal before the appointment. Eating light is also better for a child with a healthy gag reflex.

5. Leave your anxiety at the door: If your heart races at the very thought of the dentist, your child can probably tell. The younger your kids are, the more you need to be aware of how you’re communicating with them.

6. Keep your cool: If your child gets upset during the visit, the worst thing you can do is swoop them out of the chair and leave. First, assess why your child is acting out. Are they truly afraid, or are they trying to test the situation? Then, work as a team with your dentist to keep the visit going. Let the dentist lead the conversation. Jump in where you think it helps most, while still allowing the dentist and your child to build a good relationship.

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