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People who may be afraid of visiting the dentist could get help from online support groups, according to a survey.
A study conducted by researchers from the University of Nottingham, England found that out of 91 people who used the Dental Fear Central online support group, about 60 percent said they were less afraid and anxious about going to the dentist.
The Dental Fear Central website contains information about common dental fears, dental procedures and ways in which to combat this fear. More than 2,500 people have registered on the support forum.
Dr. Neil S. Coulson, first author of the study, explained that several members of the online group built up the confidence to make an appointment with a dentist.
By engaging with others who had similar fears, the researchers found that people felt better about their positions for several reasons.
Just knowing other people shared similar fears had a therapeutic effect on people and that by reading others' stories, people felt they could face their own fears. Others learned about a condition called dental phobia for the first time and became educated on the issue.
The study has been published in the February issue of the journal Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology.
© 2008 Brafton Inc.
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