Because maintaining one’s oral health is such an important issue—due to the fact that poor oral care can lead to a number of dangerous maladies—it is essential to help children establish, at an early age, a healthy attitude towards dentistry and individual oral care. By taking the time to prepare your child for a dental visit, and by encouraging regular brushing and flossing routines, children realize early on the importance and the benefits of taking care of their teeth and gums.
The patient-dentist relationship is fostered through familiarity with, not only your family dentist but the entire dental staff as well. Due to Covid, we have seen a lack of this rapport between families and dental offices, but it is these relationships that help create positive experiences that reinforce the importance of oral health.
Youngsters who are not taught the importance of regular dental visits, as well as, personal daily care for their teeth and gums can result in poor checkup consistency and resistance to dental care (the use of night guards, braces, etc.). Extreme reluctance to dental care could even result in the necessity of sedation for regular checkups.
Is It Safe?
Though it seems we are mostly passed the big scare Covid gave us all over the past two years, nothing these days is one hundred percent safe. However, with the right safety procedures in place, a family dental visit is nothing to fear.
The dangers of forgoing regular checkups for a prolonged period can cause severe problems, especially after a pandemic where we were confined to small areas and tended to eat more tooth-decaying foods and exercise a bit less. Throw in a few carbonated drinks and sweet snacks every day and it won’t take long for your oral health to drastically deteriorate, and the fact that sugary foods and drinks are especially tempting for children puts them at a higher risk for tooth decay.
The Necessity of Maintaining Your Oral Health
Preventative care and dentistry not only preserve your oral health, but they also save you money. By keeping yourself and your dentist in the know of your level of oral health, your family can take preventative measures to keep harmful bacteria from festering into something dangerous, which requires expensive procedures or surgeries. Your oral health is unique to you, and the more you understand about your particular set of teeth, the better your chances of keeping a healthy mouth. Here are a few more key details of preventative dentistry you should consider:
- It takes a community. It’s tempting to go along with the notion that brushing and flossing your teeth every day is enough to keep that mouth sparkly clean. It is true that brushing and flossing are important procedures, necessary for keeping your mouth clean, but without having regular checks where a dentist can give a thorough assessment of your oral hygiene, there is really no way to tell where your level of health is. Always make time for a dentist to monitor the condition of your teeth and gums.
- Pay a little upfront to save a ton in the end. Ironically, people tend to skip dental visits in order to save money, however, the price of dealing with a developed condition—that was not caught by your dentist—will end up costing much more money. Imagine paying out of pocket for a tooth extraction—then again for the replacement. The pain and frustration and money simply aren’t worth it.
- Visiting your dentist means meeting with a professional who can offer advice on oral hygiene products for purchase that are specific to you and your needs. There are so many products out there to choose from, and without the guidance of someone who knows what works and what does not, you might feel a bit lost.
- With poor oral health come a lot of side effects: bad breath, a crooked smile, browning teeth, chipped or lost teeth, and the list goes on. These side effects can do major damage to an individual’s self-esteem and individual health. However, sometimes these issues can be easily dispelled by a quick visit to the dentist.
- The most important aspect of preventative dentistry is that one simple visit could identify life-threatening diseases. Like many areas of the body, your mouth is teeming with bacteria, most of them harmless. Normally the body’s natural defenses and good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing, can keep these bacteria under control. However, without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead to oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease. Certain medications such as decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, diuretics, and antidepressants can reduce saliva flow. Saliva washes away food and neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, helping to protect you from microbial invasion or overgrowth that might lead to disease. Studies also suggest that oral bacteria and the inflammation associated with periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease, might play a role in some diseases.
Once you enter the office for your appointment, the nurse will take your temperature before you wait for the dentist.
Preparing Your Child for a Visit
Trying to explain to your children what they are about to walk into before a trip to the dentist will surely scare them, no matter how nicely you try and say it. Chances are, children will hear something like this: “Someone with a gown on is going to stick sharp, metal objects in your mouth,” no matter what it is you actually say.
Instead of starting with an explanation, try to show what the experience will be like as much as possible. Put on a long gown and have your child sit in a chair like he or she would during a visit to the dentist. Mimic the movements of a teeth cleaning, rinsing, etc. Maybe even get a toothbrush and brush your child’s teeth, and do the same with floss. Let them see that dentists are people too!
Try and make it fun, but also mention that this is what it will be like going to see the real dentist. Include the fact that dental visits are going to be a part of life—at least two times a year. Let your children ask questions and keep the conversation open, you know those little minds will be thinking about this for much longer.
Before making the trip to see the dentist, pull up a picture of the entire dental team and show your child. Along with your child, take special note of the names, hair, and eye color of each individual so when they see them in person they already feel a connection.
It is also important to encourage your child to talk to and ask questions of the staff. Anything that can be done to highlight the fact that the entire dental team is friendly and here to help. At Adam Brown, DDS you can definitely count on the entire staff to engage in conversation as much as possible, so you are not completely alone in your quest to normalize your child’s trip to the dentist.
At Adam Brown DDS, we understand that a trip to the dentist can be especially scary for young ones these days. If you find your child is struggling to understand why we visit the dentist, take the time now to show what it will look like and explain that there is nothing scary about a regular visit to your family dentist.