There are some words in life we need to learn not to say out loud. If you have a dog, you need to spell out "B-A-T-H" to ensure the element of surprise. Just as you need to spell "W-A-L-K" so that your household ornaments are safe from the tail-wagging frenzy.
Whilst we would never dream of comparing our children to dogs, there are words that raise their hackles too. L-I-C-E. Q-U-I-E-T. C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S. Perhaps top of that list would be "D-E-N-T-I-S-T." No child looks forward to sitting in that chair, to begin with. Any child who does should either be cherished or feared. But they need to go for regular appointments.
If they can't be persuaded to enjoy it, then they at least need to know why they need it.
1. "Do You Like Having Toothache?"
The reason that we have regular mandatory dental appointments for children is so that issues can be caught before they become problems. If a dentist spots decay early on, they can clean up some of the issue and recommend aftercare. This way, that tooth decay doesn't need to become a toothache - which is never fun.
2. "Would You Rather Stop Eating Chocolate?"
Another reason that children need to see their dentist regularly is so that brushing regimes can be assessed and recommended. Most kids have a sweet tooth and poor impulse control, and without the assessment of their dentist, can let their brushing get sloppy. Combine the dangers of sugar with a lack of efficient brushing, and you get tooth decay running wild.
3. "Do You Want Yellow Teeth?"
There’s no doubting it, yellow teeth look awful and do nothing for a person’s self confidence. Although kids may not see it in exactly that way, everywhere they look there are singers and film stars with white teeth. Shane MacGowan is an exception, and we only ever hear or see him at Christmas. Regular appointments and some purchases from the likes of BF Mulholland will help.
4. "Mum's Going As Well!"
Although it is important to persuade a child of the importance of seeing their dentist, there are positive ways to convince them. If you book them in at the same time as you, then you can let them sit in as you have your check-up. If they see you having yours, it will demystify the process for them. It's important, of course, that you stay upbeat during your appointment - and keep a cheery tone as they have theirs.
5. "You Like The Nurse/Stickers, Don't You?"
It would be hypocritical of us to tell our kids not to be afraid of the dentist - after all, we were at their age. But once you’re in there it is another matter, as there will always be someone to take their mind of it. A dental nurse will concentrate on keeping their spirits up while the dentist does what they need to do. At the end, there will always be a reward for a child who has been brave. If a sticker doesn’t work for your kid, you may need to resort to a treat as bribery - but it’s for the best reasons possible!