Study finds people with dental anxiety face more oral health problems

A Swedish study from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg revealed that people who suffer from dental anxiety have a lower oral heath quality of life. The research, “Dental Anxiety in Adults: Psychosocial Aspects, Oral Health and Psychological Treatment,” a doctorate thesis by Viktor Carlsson, indicates that dental phobias result in irregular dental care and dissatisfaction with individuals' oral appearance.

In order to conduct these experiments, the author used a telemarketing company that agreed to poll 3,500 random Swedish citizens age 19 and up with a questionnaire regarding oral health. The survey started with a simple question: Are you afraid of going to the dentist? From there, the test subjects were asked about problems in the domains of functional limitation, physical pain, psychological discomfort, physical disability and handicap. The author concluded that dental anxiety is more common in women than men, and that people with the affliction were more likely to be smokers than the general population.

To test how people with dental anxiety feel about their oral appearance, the author worked with the Clinic of Oral Medicine, a public medical center that specializes in treatment of dental anxiety and phobias located in Gothenburg. One hundred and fifty two patients answered questions regarding their orofacial appearance in a survey normally used for patients using dental prosthetics. Compared to the general population, subjects with dental anxiety were often displeased with their face, mouth, gingiva and teeth. Older patients were found to have less satisfaction with their appearance.

© 2017 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

More Articles You May Like


Tobacco's greatest threat to your health may be its association with oral cancer. The American Cancer Society reports that:

  • About 90 percent of people with mouth cancer and some types of throat cancer have used tobacco. The risk of developing these cancers increases as people smoke or chew more often or for a longer time.

  • Smokers are six times more likely than nonsmokers to develop these cancers.

  • About 37 percent of patients who continue to smoke after cancer treatment will develop second cancers of the mouth, throat or larynx. While only 6 percent of people who quit smoking will develop these secondary cancers.

  • Smokeless tobacco has been linked to cancers of the cheek, gums and inner surface of the lips. Smokeless tobacco increases the risk of these cancers by nearly 50 times.7