The weeks leading up to your kid's first dental visit can leave you thinking you bit off more than you can chew. Yet, it is natural for a kid to be apprehensive about having someone other than their mom or dad peer into their mouth. While you know that there is nothing to be afraid of, your kid may need a little more encouragement. As you prep for their visit, use these fun at-home activities to get them excited about showing off their dental skills.
Host a Big Kid Brush Off
Grab a couple of white, plastic shower curtains and draw mouths with large teeth on each one. Then, smear some water-based paint on the teeth to represent plaque. Once that is dry, hang them outside on a fence or in any area that you won't mind getting a little dirty. Give each child playing the game a large toothbrush made out of a mop head attached to a short block of wood along with a bucket of soapy water. As the kids race to see who can remove the painted plaque the fastest, they will be learning a valuable lesson about proper toothbrushing.
Floss Their Blocks
Large Lego or Duplo blocks have just enough space between the pegs to act as pretend gaps between the teeth. Fill these gaps with playdough, and set out dental floss for your kid to use. Begin by modeling how to floss between the pegs to remove the playdough before handing the dental floss over to your kid. Once they have flossed all of the playdough away, help them practice flossing their teeth. Since pediatric dentistry focuses on teaching oral hygiene skills that last a lifetime, your kid will be ready to show what they know when their dentist pulls out the floss.
Experiment With Stains and Eggs
The porous yet hard texture of an egg shell is perfect for mimicking teeth. Prep for this experiment beforehand by soaking each egg into different solutions that are known for staining such as red grape juice, dark soda, and Kool-Aid. Once the eggs are dyed, encourage your kid to try brushing off the stains. As they struggle, talk to them about foods that are unhealthy for the teeth, and emphasize the importance of seeing a dentist for children who does cleanings that help to remove stains better than brushing can alone.
When it comes to new experiences, knowledge is power. Teaching your kids some science behind why going to the dentist is important will arm them with knowledge that makes them feel more confident. In fact, you may just discover that your child's pediatric dentist is mesmerized by how much they know before they ever sit down in the chair. Check out a dental clinic like Dr. Jerry F. Maymi & Associates for more information.