OAK BROOK, Ill. (PRWEB) May 02, 2013
Parents who are afraid to visit the dentist may pass the same fear on to their children, possibly keeping them from getting routine dental check-ups that are important to promote healthy teeth and a lifetime of good oral health habits.
That’s one of the key findings from a survey of children’s oral health conducted on behalf of Delta Dental, the nation’s leading dental benefits provider. On average, the survey found that nearly 30 percent of children are afraid to visit the dentist. But when their parents also fear the dentist that number jumped to almost 40 percent. Conversely, just 24 percent of children whose parents are unafraid of the dentist were still fearful of dental visits themselves.
“Parents who fear visiting the dentist should try to keep those feelings to themselves to avoid passing them on to children,” said Dr. Bill Kohn, DDS, Delta Dental’s vice president for dental science and policy. “It’s important that the parent or caregiver responsible for taking children to the dentist remains relaxed and calm.”
The top reason parents say their children are afraid to visit the dentist is due to painful or sensitive teeth (17 percent). Other explanations include the noise and smell (11 percent), drills and dental equipment (10 percent), and shots and needles (9 percent).
During National Mental Health Month, Delta Dental offers parents and caregivers three simple tips to help children feel more comfortable in the dentist’s chair:
“Parents need to help children understand why visiting the dentist is so important and help make their visits as comfortable as possible,” Dr. Kohn said. “Kids who have negative experiences at the dentist may be less inclined to make regular visits as teenagers and grown adults.”
The not-for-profit Delta Dental Plans Association (http://www.deltadental.com) based in Oak Brook, Ill., is the leading national network of independent dental service corporations specializing in providing dental benefits programs to more than 59 million Americans in more than 97,000 employee groups throughout the country.
1 Morpace Inc. conducted the 2013 Delta Dental Children’s Oral Health Survey. Interviews were conducted nationally via the Internet with 926 primary caregivers of children from birth to age 11. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of error is ±3.2 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.