Mother smiling as her child speaks to the doctor

Explain Children's Dental Health to Parents With These 3 Tips

Oct 27, 2017

Author: Susanna Scherer RDH

It is important to make parents feel that they can ask questions if they need clarification on their child's dental health. Here are some tips to prepare dental hygienists to talk to parents on this topic.

Now that school is back in session, families are getting back into the routine of soccer practices, music lessons and art classes. What also may be added to families' busy schedules are all kinds of appointments, including dental visits.

When talking to parents about their children's dental health, it is important to be compassionate. Parents have their children's best interest at heart, but they may not be educated on proper oral care for them. It is your job to make parents feel comfortable so they listen to the information you offer. 

1. Stay Positive

When talking to parents about their children's oral health, stay positive. Avoid telling parents what they are doing wrong. Instead, suggest alternatives to the behaviors that need to be stopped. For example, if a parent discusses that the child drinks fruit juice throughout the day, you can mention the new American Academy of Pediatrics' guidelines for children and fruit juice. Depending on the child's age, you can discuss the amount of fruit juice that is recommended, and suggest that the child drink water or milk instead. You can also encourage parents by saying, "It's great you want to ensure your child gets proper nutrition. Whole fruits would be a healthier option for your child."

2. Use Visual Aids

Like the old saying, "seeing is believing." When you connect dental terminology to a visual aid, it will be easier for parents to comprehend it. Typodonts, flip charts and educational videos are extremely helpful for parents to understand the message you are trying to deliver.

3. Offer Resources

Parents may feel overwhelmed during their child's dental appointment, thus making it difficult to retain everything you have talked about. Take-home resources are a great way for parents to review what you discussed during the appointment. The American Dental Associationoffers a variety of brochures about children's dental health. You can also direct parents to online resources, such as Colgate's Oral Care Center. Writing down notes that parents can take home can be extremely helpful, for example specific oral care routines. In addition to helping parents recall what you discussed, they can use those notes to review home care routines with their child.


  • Stay positive and offer alternatives to help adapt behaviors.
  • Use visualize aids to enhance understanding.
  • Offer take-home resources to help parents recall information about their children's dental health.

Why It's Valuable

It is important to communicate with parents in a positive manner and offer alternatives to help adapt behaviors that will improve the oral health of their child. Using visual aids and take-home resources will enhance parents ability to fully understand their child's dental health.

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