Dental phobia linked to socio-economic factors

HIGH dental anxiety has been found to be significantly associated with a lower health‐related quality of life (HRQL) among adults, according to findings from a study published in the International Dental Journal.

A random selection of adults were interviewed by telephone and asked to complete a questionnaire concerning dental anxiety and several socioeconomic variables.

Adults with dental phobia were almost twice as likely to be on a lower income. The study also found that dental anxiety can heavily impact patients both psychologically and socially, leading to feelings such as shame, poor self-confidence and social isolation. The results showed that patients who fear the dentist were twice as likely to suffer from poor oral health.

The Oral Health Foundation points out that more than 10 million adults in the United Kingdom have some level of dental anxiety, with an estimated six million suffering from dental phobia.

Dr Nigel Carter, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, said: "About one in five Brits admit to being afraid or anxious about visiting a dentist in Britain. This is an incredibly widespread anxiety and is one of the key reasons why people don't visit the dentist as often as they should."

In a statement addressing patients, he added: "Modern dentistry is very different to the scare stories which you may base your dental anxiety on and, with modern techniques, all dental treatment is now virtually painless. There really is no need to fear a visit to the dentist."

Link: General and oral health problems among adults with focus on dentally anxious individuals