Parents Afraid of Going to the Dentist: Be Careful

image of child with toothbrushThere are many things that a person can be afraid of, from spiders to snakes to heights. But what about going to the dentist?

How is it that some people are very afraid of going to the dentist and have a lot of anxiety, while other people are not worried at all? Many people have at least a little bit of fear or anxiety about going to the dentist. However, it’s especially important for parents not to talk a lot about their own dental fear, or they could pass on their fear and anxiety to their children.

A new study from Spain about dental fear looked at about 180 kids, aged from 7 to 12, and their parents. Researchers found that the more dentist fear one family member had – especially the father’s dentist fear – the higher the level of dental fear in the rest of the family. The study found that whether the father has fear or anxiety about going to the dentist is a deciding factor in whether a mother’s fear of going to the dentist will be passed on to the kids. In short, if dad is afraid of going to the dentist, a mother’s own dental fears are more likely to be passed on to the kids, resulting in more fearful and anxious kids.

Parents want to ensure that their kids have healthy teeth and gums, and that they can keep their natural teeth healthy so they don’t lose them. Therefore, it’s important that their kids are not afraid of going to the dentist. Dental fear is common, but parents can help their kids relax and not be overly anxious. Bringing kids to the dentist – especially a dentist that practices relaxation dentistry – starting at a young age can help them be comfortable in this new place with all those tools, sounds and smells. These early visits make going to the dentist a positive experience that will hopefully be repeated at regular dental visits throughout a child’s life.

When parents show they are relaxed at the dentist, their children learn that there is no reason to be afraid. There is a double benefit: parents who control their dental fear personally get the benefits of regular dental check-ups, and their kids do too!