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VOLUME 25 , ISSUE 3 ( March, 2024 ) > List of Articles


Relevance of Emotion of Anxiety and Fear of Dentistry as Motivational Conflict in Oral Health Behaviors

Supriya, Rajbir Singh, Amra Ahsan

Keywords : Dental anxiety, Dental fear, Health behavior, Health beliefs, Oral health, Oral health behaviors, Periodontitis

Citation Information : Supriya, Singh R, Ahsan A. Relevance of Emotion of Anxiety and Fear of Dentistry as Motivational Conflict in Oral Health Behaviors. J Contemp Dent Pract 2024; 25 (3):280-288.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10024-3643

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 19-04-2024

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2024; The Author(s).


Aim: This study was undertaken with an aim to explore the influence of factors associated with anxiety and fear of dentistry on oral health behavior. Materials and methods: A total of 84 patients aged 20–40 years visiting the dental institute for the management of gum diseases (gingivitis and periodontitis) and tooth decay (dental caries) were enrolled. Fear of dentistry and oral health behaviors were recorded employing a dental fear survey (DFS) and oral health behaviors checklist. Each of the 20-item scale of DFS was rated on a 5-point Likert scale. The oral health behavior checklist was based on oral hygiene habits, patterns of utilization of dental services, food habits, and use of tobacco products. Each of the 13-item checklist comprised a closed-ended statement with a high score corresponding to more positive oral health behavior. Results: Domains of dental fear (avoidance of dentistry, physiological arousal, and fear of specific stimuli) and total dental fear did not predict oral hygiene habits and nutritional preferences (p > 0.05). Physiological arousal was a positive predictor of utilization of dental services (p = 0.009) and oral health behavior (p = 0.042). Oral health behaviors were found to be positively correlated with three factors of DFS. Conclusion: Anxiety and fear of dentistry are not found to influence personal preventive oral care with reference to oral hygiene habits. Avoidance of dentistry factor of DFS is positively correlated with oral health behavior. Dental fear and anxiety do not impact oral health behaviors adversely. Clinical significance: In this era of youth and beauty, the utilization of professional dental care services is not affected by fear of invasive nature of dental procedures. Establishing the groundwork for knowledge regarding the scope of fear appeals in anxiety for dentistry may help to augment positive oral health behaviors for effective primary prevention of oral diseases. Interactions among personality characteristics, attitudes, emotions, and health behavior need further exploration.

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