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Research carried out at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden has found that children who suffer from severe dental fears are more likely to have parents who avoid the dentist. They may also have a number of other emotional problems, including anxiety.
Child dentistry specialist Annika Gustafsson surveyed nearly 250 Swedish children and teenagers with dental fears. She noted that she "wanted to investigate how children and adolescents with dental behaviour management problems who received specialist dental care differed from patients of the same age within ordinary dental care."
Gustafsson studied the youths' responses to a questionnaire about their family history and home lives. She found that children with oral care management issues not only suffered more frequently from dental fears - they also often had parents with a similar approach to dental care. These youngsters typically lived in financially struggling families and had little time for leisure activities.
The American Dental Association suggests that parents teach their children the importance of routine oral healthcare early on, particularly the need for annual dental checkups. Children who avoid the dentist may develop cavities, tooth decay and gum disease.
Parents who are averse to the dentist's office may need to be better aware of how their own dental fears can negatively impact the long-term oral health of their children.
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