Dental fear

Fear of Dentist May Get Passed On To Kids

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A new study in Spain suggests that moms & dads who dread visiting the dentist should keep their anxiety to themselves to avoid passing their fear on to their young ones.

Having studied 183 children, aged 7 to 12, and their families, the research team from Rey Juan Carlos University of Madrid has found that:

  • The greater the level of dentist fear or anxiety in one family member, the higher the level in the rest of the family, they found.
  • The father's feelings about a visit to the dentist play a major role in whether a mother's fear of the dentist will be passed on to their children.

In a news release from the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology, America Lara-Sacido, co-author of the study said, "Although the results should be interpreted with due caution, children seem to mainly pay attention to the emotional reactions of the fathers when deciding if situations at the dentist are potentially stressful."

With regard to assistance in the dental clinic, the work with parents is key. They should appear relaxed as a way of directly ensuring that the child is relaxed too.

It’s important that parents talk about your child’s dental appointment in a positive way. Our team at Dr. Michael’s suggests the following to get your little ones relaxed during their trips to the dentist.

  • Dental appointments should not be viewed as negative or terrifying in your homes.
  • Moms and dads should refrain from using dental visit as a form of punishment.
  • Do not let anyone tell your child scary stories about seeing the dentist.
  • Do not bribe your child into going for his first visit. Instead, make your child understand that having his teeth and gums checked is good for him. Bribes may appear to children as ways of making them do something that may hurt or disadvantage them.
  • Set a good example. Take him when it’s your time to sit on your dentist’s chair. Flash your child a happy, healthy smile as soon as you’re done!

"With regard to assistance in the dental clinic, the work with parents is key," Lara-Sacido said. "They should appear relaxed as a way of directly ensuring that the child is relaxed too."

The study was published in a recent issue of the International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry.