If you suffer from a fear of going to the dentist, you’re not alone. Almost 30-40 million American adults fear or feel anxious about a dental appointment. A recent study indicates that a fear of visiting the dentist can start in childhood and that parents can influence kids’ impressions of oral care. Avoiding regular dental appointments puts you at a heightened risk for oral and general health issues. In this article, Erlanger cosmetic dentist Dr. Darlene Henry explores the effects of fearing dental appointments.

Parental Fear of Dentists

Research indicates that when only one family member feels anxiety or fear toward visiting a dentist office, the entire family also feels some degree of apprehension. Typically, fathers transmit dental fear to children, either directly or via mothers. Even when mothers lower anxiety, fathers influence a mother’s actions through their actions at a dentist office. A palpable dental fear displayed by parents spreads to children, who carry a fear of going to the dentist with them through their lives. Fearing the dentist leads to infrequent dental checkups, which can cause oral problems to go unnoticed.

Effects of Dental Phobia

By not visiting your dentist regularly, you invite a host of dental problems, such as tooth decay and gum disease. In as little as 26 hours, food particles and plaque that stick between teeth harden into tartar, or dental calculus. Brushing and flossing cannot remove tartar, so seeing your dentist for a six-month checkup serves a necessary purpose. Plaque and tartar host acid-producing bacteria that de-mineralize tooth enamel, causing cavities. These same bacteria infect gums and can reach tooth roots, destroying
the connective tissue that holds your teeth in place. In advanced stages of gum disease, tartar forms beneath the gum line, where bacteria breed and cause gums to swell, bleed, and lose grip on teeth.

Schedule an Appointment with Your Erlanger Dentist

Visit Dr. Henry and show your kids they have nothing to fear at our 41018 dentist office. Simple keeping up with six-month checkups can keep teeth free of tartar and harmful bacteria. Call (859) 344-8500 to schedule an appointment. We serve patients from Erlanger, Cincinnati, Crestview Hills, Fort Mitchell, Florence, Union, Independence, and Taylor Mill.