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News / June 20, 2018

Kids with siblings more scared of dentist than children without

by Guy Hiscott

Kids with brothers and sisters fear the dentist more than children without siblings.

Researchers examined how parenting styles and family structures affected children’s dental attitudes and behaviour.

‘Preventing and intercepting dental fear and anxiety during childhood are considered as critical approaches for improving people’s oral health and dental experience,’ wrote the authors, led by Lingli Wu from the department of dentistry at the Northwest University of Nationalities in Lanzhou, China.

The researchers sent questionnaires to families at three government-funded, coeducational elementary schools in Hong Kong.

The questionnaires asked for details on family demographic and socioeconomic information, parents’ dental fear and anxiety, parenting and family styles, and children’s dental fear and anxiety.

The study questioned more than 400 families with children in grades four to six.

‘Apart from personality traits, siblings’ past dental experience and their positive or negative modeling might play an important role in shaping children’s perception of dental care,’ the authors wrote.

‘In single-parent families, children may become more independent and are more likely to grow maturity and resilience. Given these characteristics, they may cope better with challenges and stressful situations, such as a dental visit.’

The study’s findings were published in BMC Oral Health in June 2018.

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