Parents, do you dread bringing your child to the dentist? Does your child scream, cry and beg with you to not make him or her go to their biannual cleaning? If so, then the problem may lie with your own fears about dentists.
According to a recent study published in the International Journal of Pediatric Dentistry, a fear of the dentist is passed down from parents to children. So, the next time your child is crying in protest at the thought of going to the dentist, you may want to examine your own feelings about oral care professionals and ask yourself if you’ve passed any negative feelings onto your children.
The scientists said that while past studies have shown that parents’ fear levels can affect how their children feel about doctors and dentists, this is the first one to examine if both mom and dad have an equal effect on their sons or daughters. According to the findings, there was a good chance that if one family member was afraid of the dentist, a child would be as well, but the effect was particularly profound if a father had a fear of getting dental work done.
America Lara Sacido, one of the authors of the study from the Rey Juan Carlos University of Madrid, reported that children seem to look to their father’s feelings when they are trying to determine whether a trip to the dentist would be stressful.
The researcher added that these findings suggest that it’s up to parents whether their child will have a fear of the dentist, and they can play a large role in making trips to the pediatric dentist more bearable.
“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,” said Sacido. “Through the positive emotional contagion route in the family, the right attitude can be achieved in the child so that attending the dentist is not a problem.”
It’s important to keep kids from being afraid of the dentist, since parents want them to willingly go as adults on a regular basis. The University of Michigan School of Dentistry recommends that moms and dads look for books to read to their children about going to the dentist such as The Berenstain Bears Visit The Dentist. Also, you can show that dental care can be fun with these dental activities for kids.
Is your child afraid of the dentist? Let us know your tips and tricks in the comments below!