Dental caries and changes in dental anxiety in late adolescence

Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 1998 Oct;26(5):355-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0528.1998.tb01973.x.


Little is known about changes in dental anxiety with ageing and their association with changes in oral health. This study examined the relationship between changes in dental caries experience and dental anxiety from 15 to 18 years of age among adolescent participants in the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study. Dental anxiety was estimated using the Corah Dental Anxiety Scale (DAS), and individuals with a DAS score of 13+ were identified as being dentally anxious. Dental examinations were performed on 649 individuals at ages 15 and 18, and a DMFS score was computed for each. Caries prevalence among those who were dentally anxious at both 15 and 18 years was significantly higher than for those who were not at either age. Regression analysis revealed that dental anxiety predicted caries incidence between ages 15 and 18 years. Dental anxiety is likely to be a significant predictor of dental caries experience, and may be a risk factor for dental caries incidence.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Age Factors
  • Analysis of Variance
  • DMF Index
  • Dental Anxiety / complications*
  • Dental Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Dental Caries / complications*
  • Dental Caries / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Linear Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Manifest Anxiety Scale
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Poisson Distribution
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prevalence