Celebrate Dental Health Day with Kids

Have you had any negative experiences taking children to the dentist?

By Anne Merchant Geissler, author of The Child Care Textbook

Today is Dental Health Day. Choosing the right foods in your diet is an important aspect in having healthy teeth and good oral hygiene. Discuss with the children how making healthy food choices, that are low in sugar, helps to prevent cavities and gum disease. Below is advice from Merchant Geissler the author of The Child Care Textbook

By the time children have reached their second birthday they are ready for their first visit to the dentist. It is important that the first dental visit be relaxing and uneventful. Be certain not to relay any negative feelings about visiting the dentist with youngsters. Any anxiety could cause children to fear going to the dentist which could affect their dental health for years to come, since people who fear dental visits avoid going for regular visits.

As soon as the first teeth appear, caring for teeth should become part of the daily routine for children.

How to Clean Baby Teeth

From birth until after teeth have erupted, use a piece of gauze or damp wash cloth to help remove plaque at bath time, at which time caregivers may introduce soft bristle toothbrushes.

Preventing Dental Disease

Never put babies to bed with a bottle. Not only is it dangerous since it may cause choking, but liquids like milk, formula, and juices can cause nursing bottle syndrome. Nursing bottle syndrome is a dental disease that rots the teeth, causing teeth to crumble. This may first appear as white spots on the teeth, which may later turn into yellow or brown spots. Early detection can prevent further decay and discomfort.

Nannies can help with the responsibility of caring for children’s teeth until they are about the age of seven. Preschoolers and young school-age children are not yet ready to care for their teeth properly without help from adult caregivers.

The Proper Toothbrush

Buy child-sized brushes with soft bristles that do not scratch gums. Never use a brush with hard bristles.

The Proper Way to Brush

The proper way to brush teeth is to hold the toothbrush at a 45 ° angle facing bristles where the gum line ends and tooth begins. This helps loosen and remove harmful bacteria before it is lodged under the gums. Gently brush all teeth surfaces thoroughly and both sides and top.

Setting a Good Example

Children learn better when caregivers illustrate the proper tooth brushing procedures for them. Nannies may want to brush their teeth at the same time as the children. Children love to imitate grown-ups and nannies can help with this important hygiene task at the same time.

Before Visiting the Dentist

1. Prepare children by explaining that the visit to the dentist in a very simple conversation. For example, start by saying, “Oh by the way…”

2. “The dentist is the tooth doctor and we have to go for a checkup.”

3. “You will sit in a Mommy, (Daddy), size chair that can move up and down so the dentist can look in your mouth.”

4. Nannies should role-play the dentist visit by pretending to be the dentist to help prepare children for the initial visit.

Prevention is Half the Battle

Do not give children soft drinks, candy, (especially sticky candy like licorice or taffy). Get in the habit of providing snacks like fresh fruit and vegetables to children. Nannies should check their teeth and clean them at least daily as soon as the first tooth appears. Ask the doctor about fluoride drops if their town water does not contain fluoride.

Have you had any negative experiences taking children to the dentist?


  1. I had a boy charge that had a gag reflex and would throw up. I tried to keep him calm. Your newsletter recommended playing dentist before going to the dentist which was fun. We practice open our mouth and breathing thru our nose. Anyway, now I have a boy charge that forgets to spit out the flouride and throws up after thinking he's poisoned himself. Ugh

  2. I take the kids but have no problems they don't even have cavities

  3. No drama but the parents usually take the kids to all dr appts

  4. I have taken them with the parents to help out. One family had me take them alone during many root canals. Poor kid. That mother was neglectful.

  5. Parents or guardians play the most important role in preparing the child for a dental visit. They must ensure that the child is holistically prepared. What happens during the first visit would greatly affect the child's perception of dental health. If it goes well, then you can expect a positive perception. But if it doesn't, dental fear arises.

  6. Dental Care is really a necessity for those people, poor or wealthy. No matter who you may be you'll want healthy gums and teeth. They don't have to be a sparkling, white, however they do need to be neat and cost-free of illness. The only real technique to guarantee excellent dental wellness is as simple as method of routine screenings and cleanings.kids dental care

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