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Encouraging Good Dental Care Habits in Children

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According to the Canadian Dental Association, over 30% of Canadians don’t have dental insurance. That may seem like a low number when you compare us to other countries, but that means there are a lot of children who are not receiving oral care. Only in Quebec, Nova Scotia, PEI, and Newfoundland are children provided dental care by the public health system. Outside these provinces, finding a dental insurance plan for your family is a great gift to give...and it keeps on giving over time.

Check Your Insurance Coverage

If you had a plan before your children came along, call your insurance provider and have them add your kids to it. If you only have single coverage, meaning that you are the only person entitled to coverage, you can upgrade to a dependent plan that will cover your whole family, and won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

If you’ve already made a dental appointment, check your policy and ensure that the coverage is there and register your child as a dependent. In a worst-case scenario, you’ll bring your little one to the dentist, but you’ll pay that visit out of pocket.

Schedule That First Dental Appointment

Many people believe there’s no need to bring their child to see the dentist until their child has a full mouth of teeth, or has lost many of them. The truth is, dentists recommend that you bring your child in as soon as their teeth start coming in. Your kids can sometimes avoid major pediatric dentistry if they go to regular preventative visits.

Your child’s dentist will want to:

  • Count all your child’s teeth
  • Check how their teeth are coming in and determine whether they will impede adult teeth
  • Check the gums and make sure they’re healthy
  • Teach you how to help care for your child’s teeth

Many kids feel uneasy before their first trip to the dentist. Surprisingly, it’s best not to reassure them that it won’t hurt, or they will get it into their heads that pain is involved. Seeing a dentist should be a positive experience for your child — that way, they will be excited to go, rather than scared.

cheerful child in dentist seat holding a toy tooth

Many dental offices these days cater to children and have toys and books in the waiting room, and they often give little prizes at the end of their visit to reward good dental habits. Nearly all dentists will give your child a new toothbrush, their very own floss, and maybe even a sticker!

“Let Me Do It!”

Kids need to be empowered and like to do things themselves. That includes brushing their teeth! If your child is a toddler, let them try to brush their teeth, but step in and finish cleaning for them to make sure nothing gets missed. Over time, you’ll be able to step back and let them do the full job themselves. Now that’s a milestone!

Getting Into the Habit of Brushing and Flossing

Get into the habit of setting aside time in the morning and before bed for brushing your child’s teeth. If you’re able to get another brushing in for the afternoon, that’s even better. Show your child how to use dental floss and remind them never to skip it.

Give your child a water cup, a toothbrush and a place to keep them. It will become second nature for your child to brush, floss and maintain their teeth.

How to Engage Your Child in Dental Care

If you’re excited about something, your child will get excited with you. Show them books and web pages that demonstrate good oral health and talk to them about how important it is to look after their teeth. Talk about foods that are good for the teeth, and foods that are bad, and teach your child to know the difference.

Set a Good Example

If your child sees you taking good care of your teeth, they will emulate your habits. Setting a good example is important. Let your kids see you brushing and flossing twice a day. When you see the dentist, tell your kids how it went and what you had done.

mother and daughter brush my teeth

Cook nutritious food and discourage sugar and sweets. If your family is very conscious of their health, the children may adopt the same principles and will pay more attention to caring for their teeth.

Act Now or Pay Later

There have been some extreme cases where a child has needed thousands of dollars worth of dental treatment. This treatment can include root canals, many fillings, maybe even a few crowns — and all this can be avoided if the parents act early.

A bill like that sounds nightmarish, but it’s completely avoidable. Your child isn’t going to know how to care for their teeth automatically. It’s up to you to step in and make sure they get the care they need. That’s why having dental insurance is so important!

Don’t let your children go without the care they need. Contact your dental insurance provider and make sure your kids are covered. If they aren’t, contact Special Benefits Insurance Services for help and find out what coverage you need to keep everyone healthy!

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