Dentophobia, the fear of dentists or dental care, can be passed on from parents or caregivers to the children they’re taking care of according to a survey on pediatric oral health commissioned by Delta Dental, one of the largest and most trusted dental benefits carrier in the United States.
The survey shows that parents or caregivers who show that they are afraid of going to the dentist often have children who have the same fear or dentophobia.
The survey’s respondents were 926 primary caregivers of children 0 to 11 years old. The results showed that nearly 30 percent of the children were afraid to visit the dentist. The percentage was higher, reaching 40 percent among children who had parents who were afraid of going to a dentist while it was only 24 percent among children who had parents who were not afraid.
The parents stated the following reasons why their children were afraid or anxious to go to the dentist: sensitive teeth (17 percent), noise and smell in the dental clinic (11 percent), seeing drills and other dental tools(10 percent), and injections and needles (9 percent).
According to Delta Dental’s vice president for dental science and policy, Dr. Bill Kohn, “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.” He added that “kids who have negative experiences at the dentist may be less inclined to make regular visits as teens and adults.”