Parents: How To Avoid Passing Dental Fear On To Your Kids

Parents: Avoid Passing Dental Fear To Your KidsSome of the most fun times at our practice are when kids come in for their check ups.

Whether they’re shy, playful or loud and chatty, they bring smiles all around (it’s hard not to when you’re so darn cute).

Beyond fun, what we love even more is the opportunity to give them a positive, happy dental experience. There’s no better opportunity to make a good impression as when they’re young and, well, impressionable.

Unfortunately, many adults have experienced the opposite. Going to the dentist was scary, boring or just plain unpleasant, planting the seed of fear that few can shake off over the years, despite numerous advances.

Today, dentistry is more comfortable than ever before, from

–effective anesthetics,

–fast acting materials, to

–cushy chairs…with pillows,

happy gas (yippee!) or something stronger, and

–iPods for music to tune out, if need be.

But mostly, we care a whole lot more about your comfort.

Regardless, as parents, we always aim to do better for our children. In terms of establishing good habits, one of the best things we can do is to NOT pass on our fears to them. It doesn’t matter if it’s the taste of broccoli (yum, in my opinion!), a fear of heights or, going to the dentist.

If we encourage good habits in our children and do so in a positive light, they will not only be better received but practiced more authentically.

Which is exactly why this is so important. If you had a not-so-great experience with your dentist, passing dental fear on to your kids will only continue the negative cycle.

Using a dental visit as a “threat”: if you don’t behave, I’ll take you to the dentist, be ready, it’ll hurt or I always hated the dentist...comments such as these may sound innocent enough but children, especially as young as 2 or 3, take them to heart. Already, going to the dentist or brushing their teeth becomes a punishment rather than part of taking care of themselves.

Instead, using positive reinforcement, prizes or treats for a job well done, as well as oohing and aahing about healthy, bright and shiny teeth can be a better alternative.

These little steps can go so far in breaking the negative cycle. Kids start appreciating the value of oral health, and establishing good habits that last for life.

Every day is a new opportunity to start fresh. Let’s take the positive approach and get our children started on a path to a lifetime of great oral health.

If you’re ready to get your kids off to a great start on their oral health (and have fun while doing it), call or email us:

(214) 522-3110                   


Filed under Children's dentistry, Experience, Oral Health, Wellness

8 responses to “Parents: How To Avoid Passing Dental Fear On To Your Kids

  1. This is so important! I’ll add another thing I used to see every once in a while was parents that might not use it as a threat, but make a joke about it being punishment. Although they were teasing in good fun, kids didn’t always know it was a joke and this sometimes had a negative impact on their children.

    • Yes! Kids often pick up on messages we don’t want them to, joking or not, as well as our own behaviors, leaving us resorting to “do as I say and not as I do”. But it’s such a great opportunity to get them started off on a positive note , and perhaps reverse the parent’s negativity a bit as well. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Thank you so much for this article – my little ones are just now starting to go and I don’t want them to have the same fears that I do…

  3. Kids are so adorable and I think that they are also brave to face what is beyond. I also know that they are entitled to their own opinions about their first dental experience and I hope that they will have a joyful one.

    Doug Horstman
    President, Encompasse Tours
    FACES Ski
    “Come to the 26th Annual FACES Conference, for Dental CME”

  4. Make the appointment early in the day so your child won’t have all day to think about the visit. And, usually young children behave better in the morning.

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