Parents Pass Dentophobia Onto Their Children

As pediatric dentists, we deal with dental anxiety daily. How much of that is natural childhood fear, and how much of it is passed down by parents? Read on about how a parent’s fear of the dentist can be passed down to their children. Thanks for visiting Saddlerock Pediatric Dentistry of Aurora, CO.

A new survey on the oral health of children has revealed that parents who are afraid of visiting the dentist often have children who develop the same fear. Parents who do not keep their feelings to themselves pass dental anxiety on to their children, which may prevent them from attending routine dental check-ups later in life.

The survey was conducted among 926 primary caregivers of children aged 0 to 11. The results demonstrated that almost 30 percent of the children were afraid to visit the dentist. The number rose to 40 percent among children whose parents were afraid of dental visits, while only 24 percent of children whose parents were unafraid were fearful.

The parents stated that their children are mainly afraid to visit the dentist because of their sensitive teeth (17 percent). Others identified noise and smell (11 percent), drills and other dental equipment (10 percent), as well as injections and needles (9 percent) as the main reasons for their children’s dental anxiety.

“It is important that the parent or caregiver responsible for taking children to the dentist remain relaxed and calm to make their visits as comfortable as possible,” said Dr. Bill Kohn, Delta Dental’s vice president for dental science and policy. “Kids who have negative experiences at the dentist may be less inclined to make regular visits as teens and adults.”

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