By Kelsi Matylewicz/Benco Dental Social Media Intern

Children’s fear of the dentist might be a learned trait from their parents, according to a study done by Delta Dental.

The Delta Dental Plans Association survey shared some information on the participants and the results:

* Parents with children 12 and under: Nearly half (48 percent) of parents say they are nervous about going to the dentist, and roughly the same number (47 percent) of their children share the sentiment.

* While moms (55 percent) are more nervous than dads (40 percent) prior to their own dental appointment, they tend to have an easier time getting their kids to go to the dentist. Nineteen percent of moms say it’s one of the hardest things to do vs. 37 percent of dads.

The study also showed that 30% of children are fearful of going to the dentist. This is not all learned from parents. Other reasons children are nervous:  a painful visit, a lengthy appointment in the past, additional dental work on the horizon, or a dentist the child does not like.

Delta Dental offers some tips to help make children’s dental visits more comfortable:

  • Start taking your children to the dentist at a young age. Preferably six months of getting the first tooth—and no later than the first birthday.
  • Talk positively. If children ask questions before a visit to the dentist, avoid using words that could make them scared. Avoid saying the dentist won’t hurt them; try to assure them the dentist will check their smile and their teeth.
  • Children like to play games. Play dentist at home, have them open their mouth and count their teeth. Then, tell them to practice on their stuffed animals.
  • Call ahead and let your dentist know your child is nervous about an upcoming visit.

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