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.”