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Dental Phobia Increases Likelihood of Cavities and Missing Teeth

 

Are you afraid to go to the dentist? Ironically, this may increase your need to visit the dentist.

A recent analysis of nearly 11,000 adults in the United Kingdom found that people with dental phobia are more likely than the average person to have one or more teeth with cavities. They were also found to have more missing teeth than the average adult.

In addition, those with dental phobia rated themselves as having a poorer oral health-related quality of life than the average person.

The researchers studied several factors, not just dental phobia.  Other factors considered were age, gender, occupational status, oral health-related behaviour, dietary intake of sugars, and perception of their last visit.

While dental phobia was key, a few other factors also contributed to significant levels of cavities.  These included being male, brushing their teeth infrequently, and not using a range of oral hygiene products such as mouthwash, floss or electric toothbrushes. Another significant factor included feeling the dentist did not listen carefully to them at their last visit.

The connection between dental fear, cavities, and missing teeth has important implications for how the health care sector needs to engage with individuals who have dental phobia.

The analysis was published in the British Dental Journal.

 

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