Children more likely to visit the dentist if their parents do too

Children more likely to visit the dentist if their parents do too.

Whether or not children receive regular dental care is strongly associated with their parents’ history of seeking dental care. A new report to appear in the journal Pediatrics, which has been released online, is the first to analyze the relationship between parents’ and childrens’ dental visits in a nationally represntative sample.

“When parents don’t see the dentist, their children are much less likely to see the dentist,” says Inyang Isong, MD, MPH, of the MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) Center for Child and Adolescent Health Policy, the study’s lead author. “We also found that the children of parents who have put off their own dental care for financial reasons are more likely to have their care deferred due to cost as well. It looks like strategies to promote oral health should focus on the whole family.”

The study’s authors note that dental caries — tooth decay — is of one of the most prevalent childhood diseases and is particularly common among minority and low-income children. Previous studies have associated factors including insurance coverage, parents’ income and education, and the availability of dental care in the local community with the likelihood that children will have regular dental visits.  Read more ….