For most of us, a visit to the dentist rates right up there with a visit to the accountant at tax time – inconvenient, and most often, just as painful. When preparing your little one for a visit to Dr. Floss, make sure you keep your thoughts to yourself. Experts agree that dumping your dental baggage is the best way to assure your child will acquire lifelong, healthy dental practices.

And for good reason. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, good oral health isn’t just about a winning smile anymore. Latest studies show that a lack of early dental care can lead to conditions that interfere with a child’s ability to chew properly, leading to inadequate nutritional intake, speech impairments, lower self-esteem, and chronic pain. Early intervention can save a lot of long-term discomfort – both dental and financial.

Your child’s visit to the dentist doesn’t have to be disastrous. The following suggestions will help build a lasting relationship between your child and healthy oral hygiene.

  • Build a level of knowledge. Prior to the appointment, read stories about dental visits. Your dentist might even have a video you can borrow.
  • Build a sense of interest. Play dentist with your child. Use a small flashlight to look into your child’s mouth just as the dentist will do. Allow your child to examine your mouth as well.
  • Build a feeling of comfort. Allow your child to accompany you to the dentist before his or her visit. Answer questions concerning your treatment.
  • Build a sense of trust. Introduce your child to the dentist and the assistants. Allow them to answer any questions your child may have about the environment.
  • Build a sense of security. Stay with your child during his or her appointment. If possible, sit in the dentist’s chair and allow your child to sit on your lap.
  • Build a sense of expertise. Teach your child excellent oral health habits. Make brushing fun by allowing your child to select an appropriate toothbrush and special toothpaste.

If you feel your family dentist’s office is not “kid-friendly,” consider finding a pediatric dentist who specializes in treating children. To learn more about dental care and your child, visit, the official website of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.