In a study recently conducted at Nationwide Children’s Hospital (Columbus, OH), researchers found that children whose parents displayed supportive and positive attitudes towards dental health had better dental conditions than those children whose parents were not as positive towards dental care. Supporting research by the American Dental Association (ADA), shows that many adults suffer from dental anxiety; therefore, it is important that parents stay positive while talking to their children about the importance of good dental habits!
132 child/parent groups were analyzed in the study, with children’s ages ranging from 3 to 6 years old. The researchers placed the parents in one of two groups labeled either “Authoritative” or “Permissive.” In the “Authoritative” group, parents were shown to give more consistent discipline and guidance in regards to dental care, while still allowing freedom in some of the child’s choices. The parents of the “Permissive” group were described as being non-controlling of their child’s behaviour as well as allowing bad dental habits to go uncorrected.
The study found that only 80% of children in the “Authoritative” group had cavities, whereas 97% of children in the “Permissive” group had cavities. In addition, 93% of children in the “Authoritative” group displayed positive behaviour on their first dental visit, whereas only 42% in the “Permissive” displayed positive behavior.
Dr. Paul Casamassimo–chief of dentistry at Nationwide Children’s Hospital–quoted to FoxNews.com, “A good parent, who hopefully does the right things at home and is developing a child who’s respectful and careful and curious, but within limits, is the kind of parent who’s going to provide a child who’s relaxed and knows how to behave [at his first dental visit].” While a first dental visit may not cause much anxiety in kids (mostly because there are no needles or drilling involved), researchers noted that children’s behaviour can be unpredictable; therefore, a larger percentage of kids in the “Authoritative” group displayed much calmer behaviour than those in the “Permissive” group.
Here at Finney Family Dentistry, we know that parents and kids alike suffer from anxiety when it comes to check-ups and dental visits. However, we strive to create a positive, supportive, and family-friendly environment that fosters peace of mind. Call us and schedule an appointment today!