Find a Dental Practice:

Dental myths we’re told as children.

Date: 3 November 2018 Category:

Dental myths we’re told as children.

Regular exams with the dentist are a key factor to maintaining excellent oral health. Ellie Garner, PCC at Centre for Dentistry Wakefield, investigates why children may not be visiting the dentist as often as they should and her own experience with the dentist.

Films, stories and words of wisdom.

When I was growing up, it was always the same words of wisdom from my mum – “If you eat all those sweets the dentist will have to take your teeth out” and so on. Alongside this I remember watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and being terrified of Dr Wilbur Wonka, switching to Channel 4 to wind down with a bit of The Simpsons, only to be confronted with Dr B Hoffman. It seems no matter where you look, movies, books and cartoons are consistently showing a stereotype of a dentist that’s just not accurate anymore.

Studies have shown that over 40% of children in England don’t visit the dentist regularly, and as a result they’re missing out on vital oral health advice and treatment that would benefit them well. This habit follows into adulthood, with the Telegraph reporting 50% of adults in England don’t attend the dentist as regularly as they should.
It is recommended a child should start regularly visiting the dentist from the age of 1, or 6 months after their first tooth has erupted.

I’ll admit, when I was a child, a trip to the dentist wasn’t at the top of my priorities. In fact, my top priorities were making a mess, watching cartoons, occasionally skimming over my homework and hounding my mother to give me sweets and chocolate, promising I’d still eat my tea. But despite this, and the media portraying that going to the dentist was a scary experience, I was sat in that dentist’s chair every 6 months without fail, proudly baring my teeth and feeling very smug I’ve got an afternoon off school for this.

Reasons for dentistry being portrayed negatively.

So why do parents tell their children these things? It may be that parents or grandparents once had a bad experience with their dentist, as many have, when dental techniques were less advanced and the experiences had been a far cry from the modern techniques today. Whether it’s memories of ‘the black mask’ for anaesthetic or the age-old tale of ‘the dentist’s foot on your chest as they yank the tooth out’, it always seems to be the negative stories passed onto the younger generation.

A very different story today.

Modern dentistry is very much a different story. It is very rare a patient would go under general anaesthetic for a tooth extraction, instead local anaesthetic is much preferred. Patients are welcome to bring their headphones to listen to some music as the treatment is undertaken, or you can of course ask your dentist to play a particular artist. The process of every treatment is explained to you in depth, any questions are happily answered and aftercare advice is provided to all. Modern dentistry really is a far cry from the tales we’ve all heard from older generations, and there’s never been a better time to introduce a child to routine 6 month dental appointments and show them that dentists really are nothing to fear.

Centre for Dentistry is committed to encouraging parents to bring their children for regular check-ups to keep up a good oral health routine. If a parent is registered with Centre for Dentistry, and regularly visiting for their dental examinations, then children under 11 can have their dental examination and fluoride treatments free. From the age 11-17, dental examinations are just £15, and from the age of 18 and over, we of course offer our fantastic £99 Annual Dental Plan. Get in touch with your local practice to register and book your appointment, or book online.