13:36 PM

Don’t Fear the Dentist (Or Your Kids Will, Too)

Dr. John Luther, DDS, Chief Dental Officer of DentaQuest

A recent study conducted by scientists at the Rey Juan Carlos University of Madrid highlights the important role that parents play in the transmission of dentist fear in their family. The authors confirmed that the higher the level of dentist fear or anxiety in one family member, the higher the level in the rest of the family.

The study highlights an important notion: Many parents who have had negative experiences at the dentist when they were young do not want to subject their own children to the dentist office; they believe they are protecting their children by keeping them away from the dentist.

This could not be further from the truth! Dentists encourage parents to bring their children in as early as after they have their first tooth-- before there are problems. That way parents can learn about eating in ways that keep teeth healthy, and about proper dental care at home and how to support it as their children grow up. Parents play a very important role in encouraging their children to practice effective oral health habits into adolescence and adulthood – potentially saving them a lifetime of pain and infection.

With dental disease ranked as the most common chronic disease in children, spotting dental disease early in children and making sure they get preventive care are very important. Parents know when their child is okay and when something is not right. Be proactive —make sure dental visits are a part of your child’s routine. Make sure you have a family dentist who knows your child as he or she grows up. Find out if your community has school programs that offer cleanings, fluoride treatments and dental education.

By removing negativity surrounding the dentist for children, parents dramatically lessen the likelihood of dental disease, avoid unnecessary dental emergency room trips and missed school days, and most of all, create a foundation for a lifetime of good health for their child.

Besides, most dentists are really nice people!