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Children's dental fear linked to unstable home life
Updated: 2/17/2010 3:00:35 PM

Children A recent study conducted at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden has found that children with severe dental fear are more likely to come from a family with a turbulent background and are more often in counseling with a psychologist. Additionally, researchers discovered that dental fear among children was strongly linked to a similar form of anxiety expressed by their parents.

Annika Gustafsson, a specialist in child dentistry, and her colleagues studied more than 250 adolescents of school age who have received specialist care because of numerous cavities.

"The children and adolescents with dental behavior management problems suffered significantly more from dental fear, and they lived in families with lower social class and poor economy," said Gustafsson.

She added that those children had fewer leisure activities and more psychosocial problems than did healthy patients. In the study, children who avoided dental appointments were four times as likely to have had contact with a psychologist.

Gustafsson concluded that adolescents coming from unstable backgrounds need to be treated with additional respect and understanding within the dental care system.

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