Advice on Healthy Dental Habits from the Experts

Many thanks to our sponsors at Northstar Family Dental for sitting down with us to discuss healthy dental habits in kids.

Healthy habits are most effective when started early. And that includes creating good oral health care routines at home and establishing a positive relationship between your child and their dentist.

For so long, the dentist office has been associated with a negative feeling for both children and parents alike. But the team of mom Dentists at Northstar Family Dental is working hard to change that perception and create great dental experiences and memories for the whole family.

We caught up with Northstar Family Dental’s Dr. Nichole Pheifer to learn how parents can help set kids up for dental success and what her office uniquely offers to ensure pleasant experiences for young patients.

We were surprised to learn that the American Dental Association recommends a child’s first visit to the dentist to be around one year of age. Dr. Pheifer suggests that parents only use positive phrasing when preparing their children for their first appointments. Avoiding phrases like, “there is nothing to be afraid of…” as this will inadvertently put fear in the mind of the kiddos. Instead, use positive reinforcement such as,

“it will be so fun when the dentist counts your teeth!”

She also suggests, if at all possible, trying to schedule the appointment during the time of day when your little one is naturally in the best temperament. Try to avoid nap time when they may be sleepy and irritable and/or snack time when they may start to get a little hangry! ☺

healthy dental habits
Dr. Pheifer let us know that they have had a lot of success treating their younger patients by eliminating long waits in the waiting room, giving them a tour of the office and encouraging them to ask questions and meet the team, offering TVs in every room with their choice of kid-friendly program and providing noise cancelling headphones and sunglasses to distract from the noise and bright lights of the hygiene equipment.

If the kiddos are interested in being actively involved in the process, they are welcomed to choose their flavor of “magical paint” (toothpaste) to help get rid of the “sugar bugs.” Kiddos are also encouraged to help the hygienist count their teeth, ask questions and look at all of the cleaning tools. After their checkup, children get to visit the Northstar Family Dental prize box to select a fun toy as a reward!

But what Dr. Pheifer stresses as most important; if your child is still feeling unsure and resists the checkup – you (or your dentist) should never force any treatment. Pressuring a child could leave them feeling even more anxious and stimulate negative feelings toward future appointments.

Dr. Pheifer says,

“If the only thing we do during an initial visit is a quick visual exam and pep talk about at-home care – that is okay! Even a nervous child will warm up to the idea of an exam as long as they are treated in a manner that builds confidence and trust.”

Northstar Family Dental
And there is more good news for busy moms (and dads!). Once you’ve checked your children’s visits off of your to-do list, the all-female team at Northstar Family Dental had YOU in mind when designing their adult appointments.

Parents are also greeted with an office tour, complimentary beverages and snacks, noise canceling headphones, Wi-Fi and a chance to relax and catch up on all of your favorite TV shows with full access to HULU and Netflix in every room. To create a uniquely relaxing dental experience, Northstar Family Dental offers warm blankets, comfortable neck pillows, aromatherapy essential oils and complimentary paraffin hand dips to turn your obligatory dental visit into a spa-like experience!

For more information about Northstar Family Dental please visit their website or their social pages on Facebook and Instagram.

You can also see a live interview with Dr. Pheifer on Columbus Moms Blog Facebook page HERE