Fear of the dentist is transmitted from mothers to children

The fear of visiting the dentist so frequent in pediatric consultations is motivated by the fear transmitted by their progenitors, especially mothers.

This is clear from the results published in the International Journal of Pediatric Dentistry, which confirms the emotional transmission of this fear among family members and analyzes for the first time the roles played by mothers and fathers.

Previous studies had already identified that the levels of this fear of parents and children are associated, although until now the differentiated roles of fathers and mothers in this phenomenon have not been explored.

The authors confirmed that the higher the level of dental anxiety or fear in a family member, the more the rest will suffer. The study also reveals that parents have a key role in transmitting fear to the dentist from mother to child by acting as a mediating variable.

“Although the results should be taken with due caution, children seem to fundamentally attend to the emotional reactions of their parents to decide if dental events are potentially stressful.”

Thus, the transmission of fear from the mother to the child could be influenced – either to increase or reduce anxiety – by the reaction that the father exhibits in the dentist.

Among the possible implications of these results, the authors highlight the need to involve both parents and mothers in the campaigns to prevent dental fear and try to get parents to attend the consultation, expressing an absence of concern.

“In the face of dental clinic care, work with parents is fundamental, for parents to come calmly is as interesting as directly procuring the child to relax.”

Fear of the dentist, that thing of the past

Someday, in the not too distant future, we will tell the youngest generations of today, who will begin their orthodontic treatment in three or four years, that going to the dentist was something that caused real panic, with their days of waiting for the pain and all his anguish. And they will look at us with a strange face. They will think that we should be crazy or that we should not be very clear about what a dentist is.

Pain in the dentist? They will think, how is that going to be?

It may seem an exaggeration, but times have changed a lot in the area of ​​dentistry, probably the medical specialization that has seen an improvement of their treatments more remarkable in the last decade. One of the advances that is offering better results when it comes to eliminating that fear is conscious sedation.

And that’s not all. We cannot even talk about toothbrushes anymore, as we were known to dentists until recently. Although, anyway, when patients try conscious sedation, the extractions do not matter much.

Conscious sedation is a method that has been operating in other European countries for many years with proven positive results, which have eliminated the fear of dentists in their populations. Now it has been achieved that the regulatory systems allow this practice, something that has been asking for a long time.

You may belong to a generation that knew the dentist as an evil being, armed with metal pots in his disguise as a villain in a white coat and mask. The best thing for you to overcome your fear is that you bring your children.

Surely they will tell you about a pleasant place where your oral health problems disappear almost without realizing it.

Fear to the dentist

Fear of the dental situation

Fear and anxiety about the dental situation can range from tolerable, not tolerable, to severe, in the latter the dental treatment is impossible without the previous referral to the corresponding professional.

Dental fear and anxiety is a common problem that many patients and dentists must face. Without adequate resources, the dentist often appeals to patience and even compassion, creating an aversion to working with such patients. In view of the high percentage of individuals who suffer from this type of fear, the aversion that is generated can have a harmful impact on professional practice.

Every person who worked in the dental profession has found patients with extreme fear of the dental situation. Some fears are mild and tolerable, while others are extreme and can create severe physical reactions. The latter is a situation with which it can be difficult to treat for any professional, especially when it interferes with the treatment and risks the patient’s health.

Such a stressful situation is not ideal to perform delicate restorative dentistry, nor is it to medicate these patients, considering the additional potential complications, especially in a person who is experiencing a reaction caused by stress, such as an increase of blood pressure and irregular breathing. Fortunately, medication is only one of the possibilities to alleviate the fear and anxiety in the dental chair. To understand some other methods, it is important first to better understand fear and its connection to the mind and body.

Every emotion that a person experiences acts as a signal, trying to tell that person something about their environment and experiences and their interpretation of them. The interpretation of events is a dominant element in how one responds or reacts to a situation, because it is the personal interpretation that gives the specific meaning to the event.

Human beings experience the world through their senses, visual, auditory, tactile, gustatory, and olfactory representation. Every second we have two million bits of information that come to us, but we can select only 126 bits of that information to process it. This means that many of the stimuli in our world are suppressed, distorted, and generalized to fit the 126 bits we can understand.

An individual who tolerates and even enjoys visits to the dentist can choose to focus on their health, feeling good with the office staff, the pleasant music, the taste of fluoride, the comfort of the dental chair, etc., focusing their emotions on the positive of the dental situation.

While someone who experiences fear may focus on feelings of loss of control, the fact of not being able to talk while someone works on their mouth, vulnerability, smells that may be unpleasant, the possibility of bleeding and pain. These are two very different experiences about a dental visit because the interpretation of the situation varies.

Fear is an emotion that is useful when a person is in danger. It assists them to choose the most appropriate and safest action. For example, if one were in a life-threatening situation, the feeling of fear would be a sign of the existence of a dangerous situation and the need to move away or deal with the situation immediately.

However, fear is also an emotion that appears when one begins to focus on a situation expecting the worst, consciously, or unconsciously. That is to say that the individual may be aware of what he is thinking is causing him to feel fearful, or the reason may be deeply unconscious and outside of his mental awareness.

If the situation to which a person fears is true or imagined, the body responds in the same way. Some physical responses to fear are tightness in the chest, fluctuations of breathing, sweating, high blood pressure, stomach pain, and nausea. It has been suggested that fear is an acronym for: false expectations that seem true. This essentially means that what a person believes in his mind (through images, sounds, sensations, etc.), his interpretation, can manifest in the life of that person as real.

The reason why a person can experience something as true even if it has not occurred is related to the interpretation itself and the unconscious. Remember that human beings process their experience through their senses and it is with these same senses that a person imagines. For example, a person who had a true negative dental experience will remember that experience with images, sounds, sensations, tastes, and smells or a certain combination of these senses. This will invoke fear.

A second individual who fears the dentist, but who has never had a negative dental experience, will imagine the visit to the dentist with his senses, in the same way as the previous example. Again, this will cause fear to present itself. Both situations will initiate physiological responses to fear, which is a very authentic experience for that individual. Because of this, it is important to consider each person’s experience, as it is true for him or her.

Along with their interpretation of a situation, their previous life experiences may also play a role in having dental fear and anxiety. Some experiences and conditions include, (but are not limited to) claustrophobia, sexual, physical or mental abuse, panic attacks, agoraphobia, medical trauma, emotional childhood wounds, and of course a dental encounter that presents itself as a stressful situation.

Tools and resources

Although the causes of dental fear vary and are sometimes complex, and require external professional help, there are measures the dentist can carry out in order to alleviate at least something if not all the fear that his patients may experience. The first and most important thing is not to prejudge a fearful patient, approaching this in a content and comprehensive way. Developing this type of relationship helps the patient feel confident in the office feeling it as a safe place.

One way of approaching the situation would be to find out by specific questions, the causes that trigger fear in the patient.

The office environment should be pleasant, comfortable, as well as the waiting room. Some suggestions and educational material about various dental procedures in simple terms, or with indications of how to improve dental health at home, or with testimonials from patients who have happily concluded their treatments can contribute to the relaxation of the patient during the wait. Also the images on a television screen showing information about the office, health education, etc. would be an interesting contribution. Music is another element that can contribute to the environment.

Provide the patient with tools to be used at home prior to consultation such as images, breathing techniques, etc. to promote relaxation. Explain clearly the procedure before and during the treatment, after explaining each step, ask the patient if they agree and verbal agreement or with some sign with the hand so they feel safe and still have control of the situation. Provide periodic estimates of treatment time so that they know what to expect and when they are close to completing the visit.

For many patients having headphones with their favorite music placed or watching television during the treatment is a great method of distraction and relaxation.


Fear and anxiety about the dental situation can range from tolerable, not tolerable, to severe, in the latter the dental treatment is impossible without the previous referral to the corresponding professional.

There are many options that do not require medication to control this situation

Taking into account that the percentage of patients with excessive fear of the dental situation is very high, it is the responsibility of the professional to take behavioral parameters as well as the staff that assists him to successfully face these situations.

Foods that cause yellowing on teeth

The yellow color on your teeth can be a sign of aging, but it can also be a sign that your diet contains a lot of food that stains teeth. The enamel of the teeth is white and the underlying layer, called dentin, is yellow. If the enamel is wearing out, consult your dentist. However, if the enamel is intact, you can try to reduce the amount of food you consume, which causes yellowing of the teeth.

Coffee and tea

If you drink coffee or tea, you may be damaging your teeth. Very hot beverages can cause micro fractures on the surface of the teeth, exposing the underlying yellowish surface. In addition, the change in temperature causes the surface of the teeth to expand and in this way the spots settle on the enamel. The dark color of coffee or tea stains the white enamel of the teeth. If the tooth enamel surface is not smooth or if you do not brush your teeth and floss infrequently, tooth coloration will occur more quickly.


The intense and natural colors of the berries stain the enamel that covers the teeth. In addition, in general the sugar content of these fruits is high and can generate a yellowish coloration on the teeth with the passage of time. Cherries, blackberries and blueberries are the ones that cause more problems.

To determine if a berry can stain the teeth, you can consider a simple test: you worry that not drop a drop of the juice of the berries on your shirt, then you should also worry about the effect of that juice on the teeth. Enjoy while you eat the berries, but then brush your teeth immediately, to avoid yellowing of the teeth.


The intense red and yellow tones of curry powder are ideal for preparing a delicious dish; however, those vibrant colors also stain the teeth. The best way to combat this discoloration on the teeth is to completely avoid curry consumption. Anyway, if you like this food, brush your teeth immediately after eating to eliminate any possible stain. If you do not have a toothbrush available nearby, rinse your mouth with water.


Soft drinks contain acids that literally consume the enamel of the teeth, so that the teeth will look yellow. If you drink soft drinks, use straw to limit the amount of sodium that will touch the surface of the teeth. Drink water immediately after finishing the soda and rinse your mouth to minimize the amount of sugar that remains on your teeth. The sugar is fermented and forms plaque, which also damages the teeth.

Fear of the dentist


First of all, it is very important to identify the reason why the fear is generated, so that they can pay attention, analyze them and perhaps adapt to a new way of going to the dentist.

Once you know why you are afraid of the dentist, it can be reinforcing to visit the place before the appointment, see that the patients who are being treated at that moment leave smiling and calm of our consultations, as well as request information about the treatment that you will execute that patient, and all kinds of information related to the dental clinic.

Saying the problem openly to your most trusted dentist also helps to feel less fear in the matter, as well as undergo mental preparation prior to the appointment, and make an appointment in person to give less options to back down.


At the time of entering the consultation, it is best to speak with the specialist who will attend to you, and comment on your fear, in a natural and simple way is the best way, so that the dentist sees that it is not a whim, but rather a reality that must be redressed so as not to have major problems.

fear-dentist-3While the waiting time to go with the dentist lasts, it is best to be distracted by the company you have, reading a magazine or thinking about other things, with the aim of not feeding a fear that has no basis whatsoever.

Also directly to the dentist should tell you the fears that you have, since you will be the first interested in the visit is successful, he will know how to reassure the patient, either explaining what he is doing, or giving pauses to the patient to take a deep breath and stay relaxed.

Little by little it will be much easier to go to the dentist, the patient will feel more comfortable each time, and the treatments that have to be done will be made with full guarantee of success for their excellent collaboration with them.

Stop being afraid of the dentist is a process of learning and relaxation, so if you let the expert’s advice on the subject, everything will go great in the dentist’s office.

Fear of the dentist

Fear of the dentist is quite common in patients, but a good control of the situation, and thinking that the result will be totally successful, are some of the keys to at least accept that a dental treatment is nothing more than a necessary process to achieve an unbeatable dental health.

Sometimes, patients just imagine that they have to go to the dentist, they begin to feel anxiety, and it usually happens that they do not come to the appointment, so that the health of the teeth deteriorates with time, until it will be impossible stop going, and maybe in that case, if it’s traumatic. So that does not happen, you should take the dentist, with  calm and determination , and know that going to the dentist is part of a necessary health check-up process, which will be appreciated once you have experienced that moment.


The reasons that make fear appear to the dentist are varied, although if it is true that they can be included in groups of reasons, that only thinking about any of them, begins to generate an anxiety difficult to control.

In some cases it is the thought about the pain that the dental treatment is going to cause, which causes the reason to get out of control and begin to suffer what is called an anxiety attack with hand sweating, dizziness, dizziness, and other symptoms. They must be channeled and eventually disappear little by little, as they begin to have a rational thought about what it means to be lying in a dentist’s chair.

It is also possible that thinking about the punctures of anesthesia generates some uneasiness in the patient, as well as the position that must be adopted with the mouth open indefinitely in time until the dentist finishes his work, or the very idea that many tools can be introduced in your mouth.

In any case, this general uncertainty that patients feel, makes dental treatments impossible to perform, so it is worthwhile to stop and think about what is achieved if you follow some simple indications.



Habits to avoid to maintain a healthy mouth

A particularly harmful habit is smoking; among the alterations that tobacco produces in the mouth are serious problems of gums, increased risk of decay, possible loss of teeth, spots, bad breath, appearance of wrinkles in the contour of the lip and oral cancer. In addition, certain dental treatments such as surgeries and implant placement may fail because of it.

Apart from smoking, the unconstrained intake of alcohol burns the gums, altering its structure, can cause tooth loss and oral cancer. Alcoholism combined with smoking increases the possibility of cancer.

Besides the consumption of tobacco and alcohol there are very harmful behaviors for the teeth such as tightening or grinding, a common practice called bruxism. Bruxism causes fractures in the teeth and severe wear in the long run and can increase tooth sensitivity and even lead to the loss of the proportion of the face. If the bruxism persists it will bring periodontal problems and pain in the jaw joint.

What else should I avoid?

If you like to chew gum, consume sugarless gum containing xylitol as this component helps protect against cavities, but do not abuse since you could get to stress the masticatory muscles and the jaw joint.

Apart from bruxism there are other harmful habits such as thumb sucking, something relatively common among children. This habit produces an abnormal movement of the teeth and can even alter the development and shape of the mouth. If you see this bad habit in your child consult your dentist how to correct it.

Furthermore, behaviors such as biting the nails or pens are negative since they can wear out the teeth, fracture them and produce infections due to the accidental ingestion of pathogenic microorganisms.

Bad habits tend to be related to stress, if severe they may also require the intervention of other specialists. Replace bad habits with positive ones such as, for example, the correct daily hygiene that added to the periodic reviews will make your smile a perfect smile.

How is a dental cleaning done it hurt

The tooth cleaning are known in dental terms “oral prophylaxis”, although some dentists also refer to this process as “scaling and tooth polishing”.

Many people fear having oral or dental cleanings because they do not know how they are performed, how they are performed. For this reason, we will explain the procedure, so that patients know more in detail what it is and so they submit more quiet to dental cleaning, which is extremely important to eliminate some stains, finish with the tartar of the pieces dental and get rid of bacterial plaque, so that the mouth will be much healthier and better taken care of.

Dental cleaning

As you know from experience, daily cleaning of the teeth helps prevent the appearance of cavities. But this is not enough to keep teeth healthy. You may be surprised to learn that the loss of teeth in adults is not due, in most cases, to tooth decay, but to gingival diseases.

The gums cover and protect the bone that supports the teeth. This bone is like the foundations on which a building rests: if the foundations weaken, the construction can collapse, although, on the other hand, the building is in perfect condition.

Similarly, if the gums are not taken care of, the bone below can become infected and damaged. If the bone is not strong enough to keep the teeth in place, you can lose them even if you have not had a single cavity in your entire life.

Before, a few years ago, dental cleaning was done with manual instruments that were made of stainless steel. That trend today still exists, but it is being replaced by the most modern and advanced dental cleaning made with ultrasonic instruments.

Through these innovative tools, the dentist will perform a proper dental cleaning, more quickly and effectively, because the frequency vibrations that these elements transmit are intended to eliminate plaque and bacterial plaque. After this first phase, the tooth polishing phase is carried out, in which the dentist will use a suitable prophylactic paste, in order to polish the entire tooth and leave it with a better appearance.

The sessions usually last half an hour and no harm is done to the patient.

Does a dental cleaning hurt?

If your dentist is a great professional, expert and knows how to handle teeth cleaning tools well, this procedure does not hurt. Only in some isolated cases, where the sensitivity of the teeth is too high, you can notice discomfort. Also in cases in which the patient suffers from a periodontal infection, although for this the dentist will try to treat this disease beforehand.

The fear that it is a treatment that causes pain should be forgotten, because with the most innovative techniques and tools, as we have said, it is a fast and very effective procedure that will help your mouth to be healthier and your teeth to be in better conditions.

You must bear in mind that before performing a dental cleaning, the dentist will study your dental clinical record, because you will want to make sure before there are no problems that are related to this type of treatment, so that you can rest assured at all times. That will be a painless procedure for your teeth.

It is recommended to have a thorough oral cleaning every 6 months if there is periodontal disease. If there is not, annually. Although good oral hygiene is maintained there are parts of the mouth that we do not get to clean properly and it is the dental hygienist that will help maintain good health.

These dental cleanings report a series of very important benefits for oral health. For example, combat bad breath so that your social relationships suffer. Prevents oral diseases such as caries, gingivitis or periodontitis. In addition, they will eliminate the tartar that with the daily brushing is not just removed. It is also a good way to identify oral cancer symptoms early.

Five tips to overcome the fear of the dentist

The fear to the dentist in general is one of the most powerful reasons why appointments with the dentist are canceled or not even come to request. So that this does not happen and oral health does not suffer, dental lists some tips to overcome the fear of the dentist:

Make the visit to the dentist a habit

If visits to our trusted dentist become habitual (at least once a year) and are not limited to consulting only when there is pain, the patient will lose much of that fear, also called odontophobia, since those visits produce, in general, less discomfort, besides that they can avoid future treatments with more complicated and painful prognoses


The dentist strongly recommends one of the most important tips to overcome the fear of the dentist, and it is none other than being relaxed. To achieve this, it is preferable that on the day before the dental visit the patient should lie down early to rest properly, as well as avoid drinks and stimulating substances. It is also good that on the same day that the patient should go to the clinic, he should do activities that he likes, such as sports, listening to music, cooking…

Talk with the dentist

Talking with the specialist about the fear provoked by the consultation, the treatment or simply solving any doubts you may have about the steps to follow, can help the dentist guide the patient in how to overcome fear. Moreover, it is essential that information is requested about the diagnosis, the treatment, as well as the duration of the same since, in many occasions, this uncertainty causes discomfort and anxiety.

Go accompanied

Dental recommends that if you have odontophobia the patient ask a family member or someone who transmits confidence and security to accompany you to the consultation, since this provides peace of mind and security. On the contrary, even if he is a very close person, the patient should avoid being accompanied by someone who transmits nervousness and impatience.

Agree on a signal

The fourth of the tips to overcome the fear of the dentist that dental exposes is to agree with the dentist a signal or gesture, so that, in case of feeling much discomfort or pain, the doctor can pause and the patient can express where it hurts.

How is the oral cavity

The oral cavity is located under the nostrils and is limited in five of its six faces by soft walls, that is to say by striated muscular walls. The elements contained in the oral cavity are: the tongue and the teeth. In addition, attached to the oral cavity are the major salivary glands: parotid, submandibular and sublingual whose excretory ducts open in it. We will review the elements of the oral cavity.

The anterior area of ​​the oral cavity

Anterior wall of the buckle area, is formed by the lips, muscular skin folds (orbicular muscle) and mucosa that delimit the buckle opening between them. The skin of the free or red edge of the lip is thin, richly irrigated and innervated, allowing to discriminate the temperature and texture of the food.

Posterior area of ​​the oral cavity

Posterior wall of the mouth or mouth, is formed by the soft palate, mucous and muscle fold that is inserted into the bony palate. It presents elevator muscles and depressors of the palatal veil to allow it to function as a valve that will order the transit of food or air to the pharynx. The anterior or buckle aspect of the soft palate is very sensitive, and its stimulation generates the reflex.

On each side, between the anterior and the posterior pillar, the tonsil or palatine tonsil.

Lateral walls of the oral cavity

Lateral walls of the mouth, formed by the cheeks, constituted by muscular skin planes (buccinators muscle) and mucosa from the outside inwards. The mucosa is thick, whitish and supports the rubbing of the dental arches during chewing.

Lower area of ​​the oral cavity

Lower wall or floor of the mouth or oral cavity, which becomes evident when the tongue is raised. It is covered by a very thin, transparent mucosa, which allows to see the underlying structures; this mucosa is so thin that some drugs can be administered sublingually for absorption. On this floor of the mouth lies the free part of the tongue.

Upper wall of the mouth

Upper wall, hard wall formed by the bony palate, is covered by a thick mucosa of masticatory type, which supports the pressure of food during chewing as well as high temperatures. In the anterior area of ​​the palate, a series of very characteristic roughness is detected.

The presence of the upper and lower dental arches will separate two areas in the oral cavity.

Centrally with respect to the arcades is the oral cavity itself, which houses the tongue. These two regions, the vestibule and the oral cavity, communicate through the retro molar space, located behind the last molars.


Tongue: organ constituted by striated musculature, covered by mucosa. The mucosa of the dorsal face is very specialized, covered by lingual papillae of various shapes (fusiform, fungiform, goblet), and on this surface there are taste receptors. The tongue has a fixed posterior area and a mobile anterior area that is located on the floor of the mouth.

The intrinsic and extrinsic muscles of the skeleton are fixed on this skeleton. The intrinsic musculature is represented by longitudinal and transversal muscle fibers whose contraction will determine changes in the shape of the tongue.

The extrinsic musculature is formed by muscles that from neighboring structures such as the hyoid bone (hyoglossus muscle), the jaw (genioglossus muscle), the palate (palatoglossus muscle) and the skull (stiloglossus muscle) extend to the tongue, and these muscles are responsible for the movements of the tongue.