Study finds prevalence of dental fear in adults
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Dental fear increases dental avoidance, impairing oral health. A high prevalence of dental fear and anxiety (DFA) is observed worldwide with more occurrence in women and younger adults. This systemic review and meta-analysis was published by the Journal of Dentistry.

Inclusion criteria were observational population-based studies reporting the prevalence of dental fear in adults. Five electronic databases (Embase, PubMed, Scopus, Virtual Health Library, and Web of Science) were searched without language restrictions up to March 2020. Two researchers independently performed the study selection, data extraction, and quality assessment of the included studies. The risk of bias was performed using the Joanna Briggs Critical Appraisal Checklist for Prevalence and Incidence studies.

The search strategy identified 4486 studies. After removal of duplicates, title and abstract screening, and full-text reading, 31 publications were deemed eligible for this systematic review. Three studies presented a low risk of bias and 28 studies presented a high risk of bias.

A total of 72,577 individuals 18 years of age or older composed the sample of this systematic review. The global estimated prevalence of dental fear and anxiety (DFA), high DFA, and severe DFA in adults were 15.3 %, 12.4 %, and 3.3 %, respectively. Subgroup analyses showed a higher prevalence of DFA, high DFA, and severe DFA among women and younger adults.

Conclusively, dental fear and high dental fear are prevalent in adults worldwide, being more prevalent among women and younger adults.

Source: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jdent.2021.103632
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