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Your Child and the Dentist - Topic Overview

Preparing your child for a visit

When your child is old enough to understand a visit to the dentist and have worries or fears, it may be helpful to prepare him or her to limit or overcome any anxiety. This first visit can set the tone for all future visits. Here are some things you can do:

  • Talk to your child about the visit. Explain what will happen, but make it simple. Tell your child that the dentist will "count" and "take pictures" of his or her teeth.
  • Don't communicate any fear you have to your child. Don't talk about how the dentist scares you or how bad your last visit was. Don't use words like "shots," "drills," or "needles."
  • Talk to your dentist about any worries your child may have. Work together to help limit them. For example, if you know your child does not like "scary tools," the dentist may be able to keep them out of sight.
  • Look for books that explain what it is like to go to the dentist. They usually contain pictures to help explain what happens. They also let your child see what the inside of a dental office looks like.
  • Ask your child to draw a picture of his or her mouth or teeth to take to the dentist. Your child can then talk about this to begin the visit.
  • Don't bribe your child into going to the dentist or use a dental visit as a punishment.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 07, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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