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If you are the parent to a small child who is absolutely terrified of going to the dentist, you know how stressful and difficult it can be to get Junior’s teeth looked at. You’ve tried to reassure him what seems to be hundreds of times that the dentist is his friend, but your attempts have proved futile. Luckily, you don’t have to give up just yet.

Oral care experts at the University of Michigan recommend that:

1) You read books to your son or daughter about visiting the dentist
“Show Me Your Smile!: A Visit to the Dentist” and “The Bernstein Bears Visit the Dentist” are great books that will help your peanut understand how visiting a family dentist doesn’t need to be a scary experience.

2) You don’t beat around the bush
Little kids are often smarter than you think. They will definitely know if you are lying to them or not shying away from the truth. As a parent, your job is to be honest. Now, that doesn’t mean that you have to be so direct that your frighten your child, but you should be truthful. Consider saying, for example, if your lovebug is going for a cleaning, “Your teeth are going to get a bath today.”

3) You stay relaxed
Take whatever steps you need to in order to stay relaxed. Your son or daughter will pick up and mimic how you’re feeling. If you are tense, he or she will think there is reason for him to feel the same way that you do. If you need to, distract yourself by listening to calming music when in the waiting room or do some deep breathing while driving to the office.

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