We all want to have straight, healthy, beautiful teeth. Yet, so many of us are still struggling to keep up with routine dental appointments. This is especially true during the current COVID-19 pandemic. But if your dentist and orthodontist are compliant with the government guidelines, there is nothing to fear.
So, what are you waiting for? Straight teeth and a beautiful, straight smile begin in childhood. But how can you build your little one’s confidence and desire to look after their pearly whites?
Exposure is key. Booking regular orthodontic services from a young age not only helps your child enjoy straight, strong teeth. It also prevents your child from ever developing dentophobia.
No More Fear
One of the most common fears amongst people of all ages, dentophobia is the fear of dental procedures. It tends to appear in early childhood, and is reinforced through adolescence and adulthood.
Unless, of course, the cycle of fear, anxiety, and lack of confidence is broken before. The best way to do so is to ensure that your little one gets their teeth checked and cleaned regularly from the moment they turn one. Orthodontic visits should also start in childhood, around age seven.
Sound a bit too early? It’s not: that’s what the American Dental Association and the American Association of Orthodontists recommend. Parents who follow this guidance will notice that their child enjoys healthy gums and a straight smile throughout their life.
Another benefit of taking your child to the orthodontist is the fact that they become familiar with orthodontic tools and procedures. Creating familiarity builds self-confidence and reinforces positive associations that last a lifetime.
Language and Little Rituals Are Key
Of course you, the parent, play a pivotal role in building your little one’s self-assurance. A great idea is to encourage the use of positive language around orthodontist appointments. You could also create little habits that signal their upcoming orthodontic visit.
For example, the night before their check-up, you could read a book about teeth, and watch a cartoon or a movie with a character who wears braces. On the day of their visit, you could keep reminding them how exciting it is that they are going to get their teeth all straightened up, and how gorgeous their smile will look. Taking a favorite toy to the appointment is also a good idea, as it helps your little one to feel safe and at ease.
What if They Need a Little Help?
Even when you’re taking your kid to a routine visit, your orthodontist might still spot some issues with your child’s teeth that need some sort of intervention.
This tends to happen when they are a bit older, so it should be easier to talk to them and help them to understand the procedure.
If your child ends up needing braces, for example, they might feel a little discouraged or uncomfortable at first. The prospect of having something metallic in their mouth for months or years, while not being able to eat sugary foods, is less than thrilling.
Nonetheless, research has shown that wearing braces in childhood can have positive effects later on in life. Besides the obvious ones — correcting orthodontic problems and enjoying healthier, straighter teeth — the benefits are also psychological.
A beautiful, straight smile obtained after a period of wearing braces as a child can in fact boost self-confidence as an adult. Deciding that your child doesn’t need braces because they find them uncomfortable or unattractive will be detrimental to them as they grow up.
Who wants crooked, weak, unhealthy teeth in their 30s or 40s, as a result of not looking after them earlier in life? Help your child to understand the negative implications of not wearing braces now, by highlighting how good and confident they’ll feel when older.
What You Can Do in the Meantime
Aside from booking (and attending!) orthodontic visits for your kid, there are other tricks that you can use to ensure their teeth are straight and healthy.
To start off with, put a cap on their sugar intake. We all know how damaging sugary foods are to our teeth, and how excessive amounts of it can lead to tooth decay. So, try to get into the habit of feeding your child healthy snacks such as fruit, while keeping those sugary treats for special occasions.
Another great way to look after your little one’s pearly whites is to create a positive, fun oral hygiene routine at home. Again, this begins very early in childhood, as soon as your child’s milk teeth start cutting through.
Make toothbrushing fun: sing songs together, read books, and don’t forget to smile. Show your child how mom and dad brush their teeth and how beautiful their smiles look. Remember to use baby-safe toothbrushes and toothpaste, and be patient with your little one. If you force them to brush their teeth or raise your voice when they are being a bit reticent, you’ll end up creating bad memories and associations.
Anyone in your family or group of friends used to wear braces as a kid? Brilliant, then you could show your kid some old photos of them with braces, and point out that those little shiny wires are the reason why they now have beautiful, straight teeth.
Orthodontic Services for a Beautiful, Long-Lasting Smile
If you want your kid to enjoy a healthy, strong smile throughout their life, then orthodontic services are your friend.
Don’t be wary of booking your child’s first orthodontic visit when they’re very young: you’ll be able to take action early if your doctor spots a problem.
To find out more about the services we offer at Bennion Lambourne Orthodontics, visit our website. When you’re ready to book an appointment, contact us and we’ll be delighted to schedule the most convenient time to visit.