Dental fear and anxiety and oral health behaviour in 12- to 14-year-olds born preterm

Int J Paediatr Dent. 2010 Nov;20(6):391-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-263X.2010.01069.x.


Background: An enhanced frequency of cognitive and behavioural disturbances has been reported in preterm children. It is not known if this affects their perceptions of or behaviour in the dental care situation.

Hypothesis: The hypotheses were that preterm (PT) children aged 12-14 years more often exhibit dental fear and anxiety (DFA) than full-term controls (C), while no differences were expected regarding oral health behaviour.

Methods: One hundred and nine PT and 108 C children took part in the present questionnaire study. DFA was assessed using the Children's Fear Survey Schedule - Dental Subscale (CFSS-DS). In addition the questionnaire covered items including satisfaction with received dental care, oral health behaviour and medical health.

Results: The children's CFSS-DS scores revealed no differences between the PT and C groups. Regarding oral health behaviour there were no differences, except that PT children more often used dental floss and extra fluoride supplements. PT children reported more medical health problems than C children.

Conclusions: Preterm (PT) children 12- to 14-years-old, as well as C of same age group, seem to be satisfied with their dental care and display low prevalence of DFA. Still, a higher frequency of medical health problems in the PT children suggests that these children should be regarded as potential risk patients for oral health problems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attitude to Health
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child Behavior / psychology
  • Dental Anxiety / psychology*
  • Dental Care for Children / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Matched-Pair Analysis
  • Oral Health*
  • Premature Birth / psychology*
  • Reference Values