Washington D.C. [USA], April 20 : Are you afraid of visiting a dentist and this dental phobia is not letting you treat your decayed tooth? If yes, then you may have to keep that anxiety at bay as a study finds that people who have a severe fear of the dentist are more likely to have missing teeth and poor quality of life.
The results, published in the British Dental Journal, showed that people with dental phobia are more likely to have one or more decayed teeth, as well as missing teeth.
In addition, the study found that those with dental phobia reported that their quality of life is poor.
Researchers from King's College London suggest that this could be that because many people with dental phobia avoid seeing a dentist on a regular basis to address preventable oral conditions.
"This phobia can have a major impact on a person's quality of life, including on their physiological, psychological, social and emotional wellbeing," said lead study author Ellie Heidari.
"Other research has shown that people with dental phobia express negative feelings such as sadness, tiredness, general anxiety and less vitality.
An action as simple as smiling will be avoided due to embarrassment of their poor teeth," Heidari added.
The study compared the oral health of people with and without dental phobia. The team also found that once a visit has been made, the phobic patient might also prefer a short-term solution, such as extraction, instead of a long-term care plan.
The team analysed data from the Adult Dental Health Survey (2009), where out of 10,900 participants, a total of 1,367 (344 men and 1,023 women) were identified as phobic.
"Ideally we would want to help them overcome their dental phobia and attend the dentist, but in the interim perhaps we could be helping them to take good care of their teeth themselves," said another researcher Tim Newton.
"By providing these patients with a detailed oral healthcare plan at home, dental practitioners could help reduce acute conditions with preventative care," Newton added.